Written by: Leigh-Anne Yacovelli
This week's post features the last in our series documenting the favorite or most interesting finds of the Archives' staff.
At the same time HBO aired its movie, The Normal Heart, I came across Executive Order No. 83, issued by Delaware Governor Michael N. Castle, while processing employment materials for staff and faculty in the Delaware State archives. This executive order addressed the need to establish a policy on AIDS in the workplace.
The 1980’s saw the emergence of what some have termed a world-wide pandemic. Although cases of HIV and AIDS were unknowingly reported decades before, the widespread publicity in the 1980’s regarding the spread infection alarmed everyone, and the alarm was validated by governments around the world. It did not end in the 1980’s. As recent as 2001, the CDC reported, “In the early 1980s, most AIDS cases occurred among whites. However, cases among blacks increased steadily and by 1996, more cases occurred among blacks than any other racial/ethnic population.”(1)
HBO’s movie showed us that the HIV/AIDS epidemic should not be forgotten. The purpose of Executive Order No. 83 was to prevent discrimination in light of the fear and ignorance that surrounded HIV/AIDS. Delaware State clearly supported this, and distributed the order to all of its staff and faculty.
Protecting the rights of current and potential workers was a step forward. Making sure historical material is cared for, such as policies and stories about this matter as they relate to Delaware State University, is an important task for those of us in the University Archives. Stop in and see how we do this!
(1) “HIV and AIDS --- United States, 1981--2000". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, June 8, 2001. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5021a2.htm [accessed June 20, 2014].