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Book-signing for HIV/AIDS activist's 'Unprotected: A Memoir' on May 21
-- From a press release
2022-05-05

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"I had been torn apart by the doings of others and blamed myself for surviving to the best of my ability. It would literally take decades for me to understand that I was the product of what happened to me."

Emmy award winning AIDS Activist Rae Lewis-Thornton's long-awaited memoir releases on May 18, 2022. Pre-Sales began for Unprotected: A Memoir on April 27, 2022. Unprecedented for a self- published book, it stayed on Barnes & Noble's Best Seller list for three days and remains the #1 New Release in AIDS on Amazon.

Unprotected: A Memoir is Rae Lewis Thornton's captivating story of what happened to her as a child and how it helped to shape the trajectory of her life. Living in a continuous cycle of trauma—rejection, violence, and childhood sexual molestation with no one to protect her, Rae's abnormal environment becomes her normal existence. By the age of 24, she is diagnosed with HIV. Rae chronicles her journey from HIV to AIDS and situates her life in the dichotomy between the early days of the AIDS pandemic and as a major force and political organizer for notable giants in politics, including President Barack Obama, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Senator Carol Mosley Braun. Rae's transparency and self-awareness are both shocking and heartfelt. Today, almost three decades after she appeared on the cover of Essence magazine and four decades of living with HIV, Rae tells all—the trauma that shaped her life, and how she survived the odds and continued to soar with a broken wing.

The book signing and discussion will take place May 21, 2022, which is the day before her 60th birthday—itself a milestone, having lived with HIV for 38 years. It will be held at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago from 3:00-5:30 P.M.

Event Honorary Chairs include Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and Mrs. Jacqueline L. Jackson; Chair, Cook County Commissioner Donna Black.

Host Committee members: Sheryl Lee Ralph and Senator Vincent Hughes; Craig W. Johnson, Board Chair, AIDS Foundation of Chicago; Brian Johnson, Executive Director, Equality Illinois; Donovan Pepper, Director of Government Affairs, Walgreens Corporation; David Ernesto Munar, President/CEO, Howard Brown Health; Mardge Cohen, M.D., Founder, Women and Children Clinic at Core Center-Chicago; Gordon Schiff, M.D., Assoc. Director, Women's Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice; Safety Director, Harvard Medical School; Tracy Baim, Co-Publisher, The Reader-Chicago; Cynthia Tucker, D.P.H. VP of Prevention & Community Engagement. Rae Lewis-Thornton is an Emmy Award-winning AIDS activist and renown social justice advocate. Rae received national acclaim for her story of living with HIV/AIDS in the Essence magazine December 1994 issue. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has requested to catalogue her groundbreaking Essence magazine cover.


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