Native American activist Barbara May Cameron is celebrated with a Google Doodle on what would be her 69th birthday. Google Doodle screenshot
May 22 (UPI) -- Google paid tribute to Barbara May Cameron with a Google Doodle on Monday, celebrating the 69th birthday of the late Native American human rights activist who advocated for and supported the LGBTQ+ community.
Cameron was born on May 22, 1954, and was raised on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. Cameron died of natural causes at the age of 47 in 2002.
She studied film and photography at the American Indian School in Santa Fe, N.M., moving to San Francisco in 1973. By then she'd come out as a lesbian, and in 1975, she founded Gay American Indians with fellow activist Randy Burns.
Throughout her life, Cameron advocated for the LGBTQ+ community members of color.
In 1980, she organized the Lesbian Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration then become the executive director at Community United Against Violence. She was appointed by two San Francisco mayors to the Citizens Committee on Community Development and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, then to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Cameron was also part of a lawsuit against the Immigration & Naturalization Service to change their policy of turning away gay people seeking asylum. The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court where the plaintiffs won.
In 1992, Cameron was honored with the Harvey Milk Award for Community Service and in 1993 she was the first recipient of the Bay Area Career Women Community Service Award. Cameron was active in the fight against HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately impacted indigenous communities in the '90s. She worked with the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the American Indian AIDS Institute.
As a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control she was instrumental in connecting Native Americans to services including childhood immunization and HIV/AIDS organizations.
"There are people all over the country who were impressed by something that she said in a talk to a college class in Women's History or Native History, or at an AIDS conference or a LAFA event or anywhere else that Barbara spoke," said Linda Boyd-Durkee. "Our hope for her legacy is that those who were so moved will honor her by standing up for the lives to which she dedicated hers."