Partner Leslie Ewing
5338 Miles Ave, Oakland, CA 94618
Rebecca LePere (December 19, 1950 - January 4, 2002) was a lesbian activist who fought to bring attention to the AIDS epidemic.
LePere worked with many Bay Area nonprofits, including the Destination Foundation, Under One Roof, and Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease. She served as the managing director of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and as director of operations for Eden Housing Inc., and she was a founding member of Queer and Present Danger, where she organized protests for policy changes to better recognize the epidemic and fund HIV/AIDS research. Her fight with cancer inspired the AIDS Emergency Fund to establish the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, which gives grants to low-income breast cancer patients.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, LePere moved to the Bay Area in 1977.
Her partner of 20 years, Leslie Ewing, said LePere was an honest and ethical person who "came from a long line of straight talkin' Texas women. . . . You always knew where you stood with Rebecca." In 1998, LePere was found to have breast cancer. Her illness affected her activism, and she recently presented testimony to pharmaceutical companies in favor of importing cancer drugs unavailable in the United States.
It was an evening in April of 1987 when they decided to act. Leslie Ewing and her partner of five years, Rebecca, were in their mid-thirties and living comfortably in Oakland, California. When Rebecca read about an informational meeting in the Bay Area Reporter, she and Leslie decided it was time to pull their heads out of the sand. This meeting, which was being hosted at the Pacific Center, turned out to be a civil disobedience training. By the end of the meeting, they had helped to form Queer and Present Danger, an affinity group of ACT-UP, and were preparing to attend the 1987 March on Washington. Soon after, Leslie and Rebecca began volunteering with The NAMES quilt.
She died January 4, 2002, in Berkeley, Calif., after a four-year battle with breast cancer.
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