HIV/AIDS Activist Jasmin Shirley to Receive Unity in Diversity Award

On Friday the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center will present the Unity in Diversity Award to Jasmin Shirley for her longtime contributions to HIV/AIDS patients in Broward County.

Shirley, senior vice president of community health services for Broward Health, has devoted the last 32 years to vulnerable and underserved patients.

In 1981 Shirley, then with the Broward County Health Department, saw reports of the first six HIV cases in the county. Along with a group of concerned citizens, she eventually helped to form the South Florida AIDS Network, which is still in existence.

The network offers support, help and information, and also distributes condoms and other items necessary for effective prevention.

“She was there from the very beginning,” said Hugh Beswick, CEO of the three-year-old museum in Wilton Manors. “She carries on a family tradition. Her father was a physician in Broward County and service and commitment are a part of her family’s legacy.”

Shirley currently oversees Broward Health’s Community Health Services (CHS) division, including 10 primary care centers, a federally-qualified health center for the homeless, a home health and hospice agency and an urgent care center. 

According to Beswick, Shirley’s knowledge of AIDS from the epidemic’s beginning through current treatments, as well as an intimate knowledge of the community’s needs, including low-income and underserved populations, makes her one of the strongest advocates and fighters for those who lack access to health care.

“Jasmin is someone who commands so much respect from everyone she’s helped,” he said.

“An Evening with Cleve Jones” and presentation of the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center’s Unity in Diversity Award will take place on Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. at the Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 S.W. 9th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $30 and $45 (including preferred seating and photo with Jones) at

Cleve Jones to Speak Friday

Last week SFGN spoke with legendary HIV and LGBT rights activist Cleve Jones in advance of his upcoming visit to South Florida. Read the full story at 

Here’s a preview:

Cleve Jones has devoted a lifetime to LGBT rights. An isolated teen who contemplated suicide, while flipping through a copy of Life magazine, he discovered there were other people like him, in fact, an entire movement and so he moved to San Francisco in his early 20s.

It was there that he would find himself in the center of the gay rights movement and some of the most critical moments in LGBT history. Jones found a mentor in activist Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials, and was nearby in 1978 when Milk was assassinated in City Hall by a fellow city supervisor.

Years later, as the AIDS epidemic struck San Francisco’s vibrant Castro neighborhood, he co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983 and two years later, conceived the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the world’s largest community art project, memorializing more than 85,000 people killed by the disease.

Like many of his friends and neighbors, Jones was infected, but fortunate to gain access to the earliest formulations of antiretroviral medicines, thanks to the efforts of ACT UP and other AIDS activists of the time to expedite clinical trials and approvals.

His book, “When We Rise: My Life in the Movement,” was the inspiration for Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black’s critically-acclaimed four-part miniseries broadcast on ABC earlier this year.

On Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m., Jones will come to South Florida to discuss his experiences as part of the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center’s AIDS History Series at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.

Visit to read the interview with Jones.


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