December Holidays: World AIDS Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and International Migrants Day

Welcome to our digital exhibit celebrating holidays in December. This page is a companion to the physical display in the Harvard Kennedy School Library, last available in December 2022. Harvard affiliates can request books via HOLLIS, for pick-up at the library of your choice.

Throughout this digital exhibit, you'll find selections from our Political Buttons at HKS Collection. The collection includes over 1,500 political buttons from the 20th and 21st centuries, representing U.S. political campaigns at every level, ballot initiatives, social issues and movements, and political demonstrations. Buttons in this exhibit are taken primarily from our 2019 digital exhibit Decades of Resistance: Political Movement Pins.

World AIDS Day - December 1

From the HKS Library Political Button Collection. Black, round button with pink block text that reads, "One in Nine." Below the pink text is white text that reads, "Stop the Epidemic." Above all the text are two rows of nine total silhouettes of people.Observed since 1988, World AIDS Day is the first ever international day for global health. It is a day of solidarity for individuals and communities worldwide affected by HIV/AIDS, uniting to commemorate the over 32 million people who have died from AIDS-related illness. World AIDS Day is also an opportunity to continue fighting for an end to HIV, and an end to the stigma associated with the illness.

HIV/AIDS was identified in the early 1980s but has likely affected humans since it jumped from other primates in the early-to-mid 20th century. It is a spectrum of conditions spread through unprotected sexual contact, exposure to infected blood such as through needle-sharing or unsterilized From the HKS Library Political Buttons Collection. White, round button with faded red text that reads, "AIDS Aware, from all walks of life '89."medical injections, and from parent to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. HIV/AIDS has historically affected people who are part of already marginalized communities, including people of low socioeconomic status, LGBTQ people, intravenous drug users, and sex workers. This concentration has exacerbated discrimination against people with AIDS (PWAs), especially when the illness was not well-understood. For example, because early identified AIDS cases were concentrated among homosexual men, users of intravenous drugs like heroin, Haitian immigrants, and hemophiliacs, the illness was initially deemed the "4H" disease.

From the HKS Library Political Buttons Collection. Green, round button with white text that reads, "To life. AIDS Action Committee."Following this discrimination and galvanized in the U.S. by the Reagan Administration's dismissive response, worldwide protest movements like the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) in the U.S. and the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa arose. These groups pushed for urgent government research, developed community-led health education resources, and lobbied against discriminatory legislation.

Today, women in Sub-Saharan Africa are the most affected by HIV/AIDS. To address this and other AIDS-related inequities, UNAIDS has declared the theme of Worlds AIDS Day 2022 to be "Equalize." Their goal is to increase the availability and quality of services worldwide, reform policies that lead to stigma and exclusion, and ensure technology-sharing between the Global South and North.

The resources in this display highlight historical responses to HIV/AIDS in the U.S., by both activists and traditional power-holders.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - December 3

First proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1992, International Day of Persons with Disabilities "promote[s] an understanding of disability issues and mobilize[s] support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities." These efforts are critical given historical treatment of people with disabilities, which favored a eugenics-driven approach of institutionalization, incarceration, and sterilization based on discriminatory fears that offering medical and social services to people with disabilities would "lead to the denigration of the human race." England's Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act of 1970 was the first in the world to recognize the rights of people with disabilities and offer governmental assistance. Other countries followed suit over the coming decades, including the U.S. with the American Disabilities Act of 1990.

At the grassroots level, movements of disability rights and disability justice have since the 1960s been leading the fight against systemic ableism. These movements have been vital in popularizing a social model of disability, which redefines a "disability" not as biological or medical impairment, but as a socially constructed state that results from a dominant framework which normalizes certain bodies over others. The disability justice movement in particular was also pivotal in developing an intersectional model of disability that examines the relationships between ableism and other forms of oppression.

The books in this display highlight the experiences and sociopolitical frameworks of people with disabilities, primarily from a disability justice perspective.

International Migrants Day - December 18

First proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2000, International Migrants Day serves as a global moment to rally behind the freedoms of people seeking safe passage across international or regional borders, often in search of a better quality of life. International Migrants Day recognizes that while a complex combination of socioeconomic factors have spurred the large and growing number of migrants worldwide, the ultimate driver is a widening opportunity gap between wealthy and poor countries. Further, International Migrants Day emphasizes the need for robust policies to support international migration, especially as an alternative to fearmongering and scapegoating.

As of 2020, countries with the largest international diasporas include India, Mexico, Russia, China, and Syria. In contrast, countries hosting the largest number of migrants include the United States, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., migration has shaped the country since the 1700s when the first colonies were settled by European immigrants on indigenous land. Nevertheless, U.S. policy has remained ambivalent on migration, historically favoring migrants considered to be white while limiting or excluding migrants of color. More recently, while the 9/11 attacks exacerbated public sentiment against migrants of color, more than 80 U.S. cities have enacted sanctuary policies - especially in light of former President Donald Trump's "zero-tolerance" border policies.

From the HKS Library's Political Buttons Collection. White, round button that reads "Don't build walls" in black block letters.More from Decades of Resistance: Political Movements and Protest Pins since 1960: "During the 2016 election, Donald Trump embraced a growing opposition to immigration and immigrants to gain support. Preventing immigration, particularly by Central Americans, Muslims, and refugees, and punishing immigrants regardless of status became a central pillar of Donald Trump's presidency. One of his signature promises was to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which he insisted would be funded by the Mexican government. Trump also imposed a travel ban on citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, attempted to end the DACA program, and imposed a "zero tolerance" policy on anyone caught crossing the border without legal status. Under the Trump administration,  thousands of migrant children were separated from their families. There was significant public outcry against these policies and the deliberately inhumane treatment to which immigrants were been subjected."

The resources in this display highlight the experiences and sociopolitical frameworks of immigrants to the U.S. and first-generation Americans.

World AIDS Day

Cover of To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS

To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS

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"In the decades since it was identified in 1981, HIV/AIDS has devastated African American communities. Members of those communities mobilized to fight the epidemic and its consequences from the beginning of the AIDS activist movement. They struggled not only to overcome the stigma and denial surrounding a 'white gay disease' in Black America, but also to bring resources to struggling communities that were often dismissed as too 'hard to reach.' To Make the Wounded Whole offers the first history of African American AIDS activism in all of its depth and breadth. Dan Royles introduces a diverse constellation of activists, including medical professionals, Black gay intellectuals, church pastors, Nation of Islam leaders, recovering drug users, and Black feminists who pursued a wide array of grassroots approaches to slow the epidemic's spread and address its impacts."

Cover of Aids and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame

Aids and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame

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"Does the scientific 'theory' that HIV came to North America from Haiti stem from underlying attitudes of racism and ethnocentrism in the United States rather than from hard evidence? Award-winning author and anthropologist-physician Paul Farmer answers with this, the first full-length ethnographic study of AIDS in a poor society."

Cover of Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis

Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis

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"Viewing contemporary history from the perspective of the AIDS crisis, Jennifer Brier provides rich, new understandings of the United States' complex social and political trends in the post-1960s era. Brier describes how AIDS workers--in groups as disparate as the gay and lesbian press, AIDS service organizations, private philanthropies, and the State Department--influenced American politics, especially on issues such as gay and lesbian rights, reproductive health, racial justice, and health care policy, even in the face of the expansion of the New Right. Infectious Ideas places recent social, cultural, and political events in a new light, making an important contribution to our understanding of the United States at the end of the twentieth century."

Kanopy film poster for United in Anger: A History of ACT UP: The Grassroots Movement to End the AIDS Crisis

United in Anger: A History of ACT UP: The Grassroots Movement to End the AIDS Crisis

Stream film @ Harvard Library [Harvard Key required]

"An inspiring documentary about the birth and life of the AIDS activist movement from the perspective of the people in the trenches fighting the epidemic. Utilizing oral histories of members of ACT UP, as well as rare archival footage, the film depicts the efforts of ACT UP as it battles corporate greed, social indifference, and government neglect. The film takes the viewer through the planning and execution of a half dozen exhilarating major actions including Seize Control of the FDA, Stop the Church, and Day of Desperation, with a timeline of many of the other actions that forced the U.S. government and mainstream media to deal with the AIDS crisis. United in Anger reveals the group’s complex culture – meetings, affinity groups, and approaches to civil disobedience mingle with profound grief, sexiness, and the incredible energy of ACT UP."

Cover of Volume 104, Issue 3 of the Journal of American History

HIV/AIDS and U.S. History

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"Emerging in the 1980s, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) ravaged minoritized communities across the country and in the process transformed the United States. In this 'Interchange,' the writers focus primarily on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities and communities of color, groups that make up the majority of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States, as a way to explore social, cultural, and political battles over recognizing the significance of AIDS and for access to treatment and prevention. The epidemic, and those affected by it, transformed public discussion of sexuality and race, poverty, and public health. But despite those radical changes, HIV/AIDS has rarely been included in the history of the post-1960s era."

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Cover of Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice

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"In her latest book of essays, Leah writes passionately and personally about disability justice, on subject such as the creation of care webs, collective access, and radically accessible spaces. She also imparts her own survivor skills and wisdom based on her years of activist work, empowering the disabled--in particular, those in queer and/or BIPOC communities--and granting them the necessary tools by which they can imagine a future where no one is left behind. Presently, disability justice and emotional/care work are buzzwords on many people's lips, and the disabled and sick are discovering new ways to build power within themselves and each other; at the same time, those powers remain at risk in this fragile political climate in which we find ourselves. Powerful and passionate, Care Work is a crucial and necessary call to arms."

Cover of Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness & Liberation

Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness & Liberation

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"First published in 1999, Exile & Pride established Eli Clare as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability. Clare's writing on his experiences as a genderqueer activist/writer with cerebral palsy permanently changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation, and yet Exile & Pride is much too great in scope to be defined by even these two issues. Instead it offers an intersectional framework for understanding how our bodies actually experience the politics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the heart of Clare's exploration of environmental destruction, white working-class identity, queer community, disabled sexuality, childhood sexual abuse, coalition politics, and his own gender transition is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible for everyone. Blending prose and theory, personal experience and political debate, anger and compassion, Exile & Pride provides a window into a world where our whole selves in all their complexity can be loved and accepted."

Cover of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century

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"One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent--but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. From Harriet McBryde Johnson's account of her debate with Peter Singer over her own personhood to original pieces by authors like Keah Brown and Haben Girma; from blog posts, manifestos, and eulogies to Congressional testimonies, and beyond: this anthology gives a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience, highlighting the passions, talents, and everyday lives of this community. It invites readers to question their own understandings. It celebrates and documents disability culture in the now. It looks to the future and the past with hope and love."

Cover of The Cancer Journals

The Cancer Journals

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"Originally published in 1980, Audre Lorde's The Cancer Journals offers a profoundly feminist analysis of her experience with breast cancer & a modified radical mastectomy. Moving between journal entry, memoir, & exposition, Lorde fuses the personal & political & refuses the silencing & invisibility that she experienced both as a woman facing her own death & as a woman coping with the loss of her breast. After Lorde died of cancer in 1992, women from all over the U.S. & beyond paid tribute to her in essays & poems."

International Migrants Day

Cover of Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America

Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America

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"What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize­­-finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of American rights, liberties, and protections. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, and gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained that keeps the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people with whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other."

Cover of The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America

The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America

"From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of white supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as 'lively and vital,' editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be here is under attack. Chigozie Obioma unpacks an Igbo proverb that helped him navigate his journey to America from Nigeria. Jenny Zhang analyzes cultural appropriation in 90s fashion, recalling her own pain and confusion as a teenager trying to fit in. Fatimah Asghar describes the flood of memory and emotion triggered by an encounter with an Uber driver from Kashmir. Alexander Chee writes of a visit to Korea that changed his relationship to his heritage. These writers, and the many others in this urgent collection, share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong."

Cover of I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir

I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir

"I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid. Malaka Gharib's triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised."

Cover of The Undocumented Americans

The Undocumented Americans

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"Writer Karla Cornejo Villavicencio was on DACA when she decided to write about being undocumented for the first time using her own name. It was right after the election of 2016, the day she realized the story she'd tried to steer clear of was the only one she wanted to tell. So she wrote her immigration lawyer's phone number on her hand in Sharpie and embarked on a trip across the country to tell the stories of her fellow undocumented immigrants--and to find the hidden key to her own. Looking beyond the flashpoints of the border or the activism of the DREAMers, Cornejo Villavicencio explores the lives of the undocumented--and the mysteries of her own life. She finds the singular, effervescent characters across the nation often reduced in the media to political pawns or nameless laborers. The stories she tells are not deferential or naively inspirational but show the love, magic, heartbreak, insanity, and vulgarity that infuse the day-to-day lives of her subjects."

Cover of Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration

Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration

"From prizewinning journalist and immigration expert Alfredo Corchado comes the sweeping story of the great Mexican migration from the late 1980s to today. When Alfredo Corchado moved to Philadelphia in 1987, he felt as if he was the only Mexican in the city. But in a restaurant called Tequilas, he connected with two other Mexican men and one Mexican American, all feeling similarly isolated. Over the next three decades, the four friends continued to meet, coming together over their shared Mexican roots and their love of tequila. One was a radical activist, another a restaurant/tequila entrepreneur, the third a lawyer/politician. Alfredo himselfwas a young reporter for theWall Street Journal. Homelands merges the political and the personal, telling the story of the last great Mexican migration through the eyes of four friends at a time when the Mexican population in the United States swelled from 700,000 people during the 1970s to more than 35 million people today."