Two decades ago, Mary Fisher moved a Republican National Convention audience by calling on each of those assembled to be human, to take a compassionate and public stand and embrace those who had been diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.
“When Mary Fisher spoke like an angel that night,” author Norman Mailer wrote in October 1992, “the floor was in tears, and conceivably the nation as well.”
Her eloquence moved people. But so did the simple fact of who she was — the attractive, well-spoken daughter of Marjorie Fisher and Republican financier Max Fisher, the late Detroit civic leader and philanthropist. She was also the mother of two boys, Max, 4and Zachary, 2.
“Hearing those words coming from her brought the message home to the mainstream,” said Bill VanHemert, a spokesman for AIDS Partnership Michigan.
Called “A Whisper of AIDS,” the speech is included in “Words of a Century: The Top 100 American Speeches, 1900-1999,” along with other landmark addresses like “I Have a Dream” by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The Four Freedoms” by Franklin D. Roosevelt and “A Tale of Two Cities” by Mario Cuomo.
Source : Laura Berman, “Mary Fisher’s powerful speech on AIDS still inspires 20 years later; Powerful 1992 speech on AIDS still resonates today”, Detroit News, October 2, 2012.
Dan Shaw, “Defined by Words, Not by a Disease”, New York Times, August 22, 2012.
YouTube, Part One.
YouTube, Part Two.