Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Grass Roots 1980's Organizer Stuart Holland - Founder Minnesota AIDS Massage Network

Early in my visit....Stuart unrolled this poster developed through Perry Tilleraas MN author and gay activist in the early 1980's  Perry from Blooming Prairie MN, designed this for early prevention, and features Stuart on the left (moustache), the blond whom his partner Doug, ID'd as a friend of Perry's named Carlton, and not knowing the man in front.  

Stuart Holland - Pioneer Founder of Minnesota AIDS Message Network 
Yesterday,  Presidents Day, 2016, I visited with, Stuart, a man whom I knew was a key person during the growing epidemic among gay men in the early 1980's,  organizing local folks to deal with the crisis.  My vision for the 40th year of the Men’s Center is to interview key actors during each decade of TCMC's 40 Year ARC.. and learn how we supported men in a good way.  I am so grateful for Stuart’s warm welcome to his south Minneapolis home that he shares with his partner Doug. He is a man of many stories…and according to his vision, has at least 2 books to write, being knowledgeable about German earthenware, and other topics . Thanks Stuart!

           Addressing the Health Crisis Among Gay Men - Minnesota Early 1980's
 New to Minnesota in 1974, and coming out as gay in 1979,  Stuart moved from St Paul to Minneapolis in 1980 settling into a home at 2507 Blaisdell  Ave S.  Here he had a part time massage practice. It was here he recalls the first meeting of men, including Bruce Brockway and Eric Stoltz  who shared  concerns about gay related immune deficiency disorder, around 1981-2  that was a mystery to medical science then.  There was a lot of paranoia at the time. and Stuart admitted he did  not know how it was transmitted, and even used disposable cups for this meeting.  :-)

                       Minnesota AIDS Message Network mid and late 1980's

Stuart said that a friend of his, Norman Strizek, saw an article from San Francisco about Irene Smith   a  pioneer massage educator.  She was giving massages to men with AIDS . She came to Minnesota around 1985-6, to support starting a volunteer network locally.   Stuart was then, the  president of the Minnesota  Therapeutic Massage network and the Minnesota Chapter of the American Massage Association, and it seemed natural for him to step up to lead the movement here .  "It  started with 20- 25 volunteers, and later we trained over 150 people."    "After we started seeing people in their homes, the idea spread through word of mouth. At the time, the people using the AIDS Massage Project were mostly gay men, mostly white. That  changed when the cocktail came out in the early 1990's."

                 Spreading the Word:  Informational  talks, including events at the Men's Center   
In what would have been the first decade of the Men's Center (1976-86), Stuart recalls giving talks at the Men's Center, with massages done chiefly at the Aliveness Project.  Stuart took the calls, during the peak of the crisis in 1988-89, he attended one funeral a week.

One of the special victories, included being allowed to come into hospitals.  While nurses and doctors would wear gloves and mask up, massage volunteers did not.  The training provided up to date facts including information that the disease is not communicable without open sores and/or direct contact with body fluids.

 By  1987-88 Stuart was involved with starting  a National Aids Massage Network.  Many of the training events were held at Mary Hill Center and Totino Grace Renewal Center. 
A training  took an entire weekend, with attendees coming from as far away as Hawai’i. Scott Strickland, MD, a local internist trained in HIV management, and Irene Smith, coming from San Francisco, were both trainers, as well as Howard Bell, then director of Pathways, who spoke on death and dying."   

The network formally ended in 1992. More minorities were contracting HIV, many of whom thought that massage was something only for white folks, and people were living longer due to the newer medications. The numbers of calls for volunteers dwindled."

New Readers ---Thanks for considering Following the TCMC Blog to Share the ARC of our Path, from Oct 1976 to 2016 and Beyond.  More interviews and Photos to Follow.  
contact Tom Weaver,  to share ideas and suggestions


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Visioning Growing an On Line Presence in 2016 - Invitation for evocative Images

Here is an early issue of the Men Talk newsletter that was published monthly from PO box 14299 University Station, MPLS MN 55414 - Here is a cover photo from the early days in June 1978 -
Minutes written by Al Oertwig commenting on Scott Bartell being hired as a community education coordinator in 1978.  Note the gay rights letter written by Floyd Winecoff as well.

Look for ongoing coverage of 40th Anniversary events here, and Follow us on Google. Comments invited as well.

TCMC 40 Year Learning ARC 1976- 2016 Action- Reflection - Celebration

Welcome to the TCMC Blogging experience.  Tom Weaver here, co chair with John Ruud of the 40th year committee that is meeting for the first time, Valentine's Sunday the 14th of Feb, 10 AM at Common Roots Cafe'.  I am grateful for the 40 years of men's work, rooted in South Minneapolis, since Oct 1976 and the honor to reflect on the expanding circle of men influenced by Minnesota men, here and around the world. 
Here is our Men Talk banner 10 years ago with our old logo. 
My goal is to bring evocative stories with photos from each of the 4 decades and post them here and when we find a communications intern  from the U of M (thanks Damon Starks for the inspiration) to connect us though social media like Twitter...we can be more present to those who understand the digit and world in the cloud!  
 Banner in our spring color from the 39th year......

And from the most recent MEN TALK - the iconic Robert Bly is honored for his service as a Minnesota activist poet and writer, who so much lit a fire for men around the world.

At last nights TCMC Board Meeting at our current 3239 Hennepin Ave location, group of us committed to being the journey of creating a year of "Celebration and Renewal" geared toward a fun community celebration on Oct 22 2016, which is the 40th year of our incorporation.  As Posted on our website "The Men's Center is an incorporated, educational non-profit 501(c)3, volunteer organization which began in 1976 as an outgrowth of the Men's Awareness Network in the Twin Cities in 1973. TCMC published the large-format Men's Survival Resource Book in 1979.
TCMC began these projects which each became new Twin Cities organizations: Men in Violent Relationships in 1977 (now the Domestic Abuse Project), HTLV-lll (HIV) support groups in 1985 (now the Minnesota AIDS Project), and Fathers and Sons support groups in 1990 (now the Father's Resource Center). TCMC sponsored the Twin Cities exhibition of Judy Chicago's Birth Project in 1989. The first annual Men's Leadership/Wingspan conference was hosted by TCMC in 1990."

The Men's Center's Mission and Values

Our mission:
The Men's Center provides resources for men seeking to grow in body, mind and spirit, and from that foundation advocates for healthier family and community relationships.
Our values:
1. We believe men can and should support each other through times of personal challenge and change.
2. We believe in authenticity, which means acknowledging to ourselves and each other our hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses as men seeking to grow.
3. We believe in honesty among men, which means men freely expressing themselves
emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually in ways true to their own growth and masculinities.
4. We believe in respecting diversity and mutuality in our support groups, workshops,
conferences and outreach activities which means supporting and empowering all men.
5. We believe in the equality of men and women.
6. We believe in recognizing and appreciating our similarities and differences as humans of all races and national origins, and in the process fostering mutual respect and brotherhood for us all.
7. We believe in the power of our common humanity, which means regardless of our
sexual orientations, gender identities, or other issues that separate us, what we have in common transcends our differences

Look for a change in our ON LINE PRESENCE in the weeks and months ahead.

Best regards,

Tom W
Vice Chair TCMC board
And Co Chair with John Ruud
TCMC 40Th Anniversary ARC Committee