Lambda Archives ‘Heroines, Pioneers & Trailblazers’ Gala Honors Local Remarkable Women And Their Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Lambda Archives ‘Heroines, Pioneers & Trailblazers’ Gala Honors Local Remarkable Women And Their Fight Against HIV/AIDS
February, 2016 Client News
SAN DIEGO – Feb. 12, 2016 – Lambda Archives of San Diego, a nationally-recognized nonprofit archive dedicated to the local history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, will host an awards gala brunch on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 12 noon at the San Diego Woman’s Club. The event includes an awards program to honor women, LBTQ and straight, who stepped up and did extraordinary things in the difficult early days of HIV/AIDS in San Diego and Tijuana.
“We want to celebrate the oft-overlooked efforts of the people who cared for their loved ones and the needs they saw around them,” said Maureen Steiner, board president, Lambda Archives of San Diego. “The women we are recognizing are representative of the efforts of so many who aren’t often considered ‘heroes.’ These are ‘ordinary’ women who did remarkable things because they saw a need – and they responded as they best knew how: cooking, teaching art, writing, delivering food, medical supplies – and most of all, love! And don’t forget, in the days early on in the AIDS epidemic, a human touch was badly needed.”
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Lambda Archives will be honoring 11 local women for their work and dedication in battling HIV/AIDS:
  • Wendy Sue Biegeleisen – Wendy jumped in to help in so many ways. She was involved in Project Lifeguard, ACTUP, Clean Needle Exchange, the Blood Sisters and more.
  • Maria Galletta – Maria crossed boundaries as well as borders as a co-founder of Christie’s Place. Seeing that there was equal need south of San Diego, she went on to found Casa Nicole in Tijuana.
  • Ruth Henricks – Ruth knew she could prepare meals and get them to those who couldn’t. She went on to find the local organization called Special Delivery.
  • Nicolette Ibarra – A transgender woman living in both San Diego and Tijuana, Nicolette bravely became an AIDS activist on both sides of the border. She took much needed supplies and information to fill in the gaps in Tijuana and surrounding areas.
  • Susan Jester – Seeing that attention and money were needed, Susan realized there was a way to get both. She founded San Diego Walks for Life, which later became AIDS Walk.
  • Laurie Leonard – Laurie cooked. And cooked. And founded Mama’s Kitchen to provide food and love.
  • Irene Milton – Her husband had to face HIV/AIDS in an unexpected way when their daughter was infected. They founded Christie’s Place as a haven for HIV positive women and children.
  • Carole Norman, R.N. – President of the Black Nurses Association, Carole simply felt she needed to join in Walk for Life. She organized a People of Color contingency and has been walking, talking and serving in many capacities ever since.
  • Barbara Peabody – An artist and doer, Barbara cared for her son after he was diagnosed with AIDS and wrote about the experience in the disturbing, but important book, The Screaming Room. She co-founded Mothers of AIDS Patients and created Art for Life, an arts program for people with HIV/AIDS.
  • Miriam Thompson Slater – Co-founder of Mothers of AIDS Patients, Miriam lost her 11-year-old stepdaughter to AIDS in the first pediatric case in San Diego.
  • Barbara Vick – Seeing her “brothers” in need of blood donations, but given the AIDS crisis were unable to help themselves, Barbara asked a few friends to come to the blood bank with her. Word got out and hundreds showed up. This loosely-organized group of women called themselves, “The Blood Sisters.”
The honorary chairs for the event are San Diego AIDS Memorial Committee co-chair Katherine Stuart Faulconer, City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez and California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and her spouse Jennifer LeSar.

Former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, will be guest speaking about her experiences during the early days of the epidemic. Attendees will also have an opportunity to hear from some of the remarkable women being celebrated speak on their struggles, triumphs and inspirational stories in their battles against HIV/AIDS.

Event: Lambda Archives of San Diego – 2016 “Heroines, Pioneers & Trailblazers” Awards Gala
Date: Saturday, March 19, 2016
Time: 12 noon
Location: San Diego Woman’s Club, 2557 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
Registration/Website: For more information on the event and to register to attend, please visit, email or call 619-260-1522.
Tickets Prices: $100 general; $150 VIP (includes reception with Dr. Joycelyn Elders and honorees)

To register or receive more information about “Heroines, Pioneers & Trailblazers,” please email, or call 619-260-1522. Event sponsorships are also available, and businesses and individuals are encouraged to reach out to Lambda Archives for details.

About Lambda Archives of San Diego
As a nonprofit 501©3 organization governed by a volunteer board of directors, the mission of the Lambda Archives of San Diego is to collect, preserve, and teach the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the San Diego and Northern Baja California region. Lambda Archives is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the important historical material that reflects the history and culture of those who created it and making the materials available for learning. Researchers and volunteers welcome. Lambda Archives is located at 4545 Park Blvd., Suite 104, San Diego, CA 92116. Learn more at or contact us at 619.260.1522 or