Victor Salvo
Age: 59
Categories:   Civic/Community   Politics   Health   Business

Salvo is a designer by trade, and an activist in his down time, having been a key part of Chicago's political and AIDS activism. He was co-chair, with Julie Valoni, of Chicago's participation in the history 1986 March on Washington, working tirelessly to make sure Chicago was well represented at the event. He has donated his time and resources to numerous charities, including Open hand, the NAMES Project, Equality Illinois, IMPACT, Lesbian and Gay Progressive Democratic Organization ( LGPDO ) , the Gay and Lesbian Building and Trade Professionals ( GLBTP ) , and the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He was a co-founder of LGPDO and GLBTP. He is a designer of furniture, cabinetry and interiors.

Salvo writes: "When I was 29 I didn't know anybody who even had HIV. By the time I turned 30 six of my friends were dead. Not 'sick': dead. It shattered everything for me. With your friends dropping like flies it was impossible to actually lead a 'normal life' or have normal priorities. It was like living through war-time in a bungalow on the front lines. I got involved with politics and protest. Ron Sable's campaign for alderman was my first foray into politics. After that I co-chaired the 1987 March on Washington endeavor. I began volunteering--met up with those who would form Open Hand. The Quilt. Then more politics. It was not what I had planned for myself. It was as though life were over. There was nothing left but AIDS and persecution and politics and demonstrations and protest rallies. I developed a drinking problem that undermined me a lot ( and cost a fortune ) but at least served as an anesthetic. It took me many years of therapy and targeted, measured 'activism' to gain control of the downward spiral I was on. I lost some very, very dear people."

  Video Interview Date: 2007-07-29 Interviewer: Tracy Baim





Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community, the book is edited by Tracy Baim and features the contributions of more than 20 prominent historians and journalists. It is published by Surrey Books, an Agate imprint, and is hard cover, 224 pages, 4-color, with nearly 400 photos.
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