Description: Part of Lambda Archives’ celebratory event “Heroines, Pioneers and Trailblazers” held March 19, 2016 in San Diego, CA. As a regular blood donor, Barbara Vick noticed screening questions at the blood bank in early 1983 that explicitly excluded gay men from giving blood. In those early days of AIDS fear about transmission ran high. Barbara decided to establish an account with the San Diego Blood Bank that gay men could upon if they needed blood. As a member of the newly formed Women’s Caucus of the San Diego Democratic Club, Barbara brought the idea to the group which resulted in unexpected success. Her efforts resulted in the formation of the “Blood Sisters”. Their first blood drive in 1983 was an overwhelming success, bringing nearly 200 lesbians to the blood bank and is thought to be the first of its kind anywhere in the United States. The Blood Sisters continued to organize blood drives for the next four years and led to the adoption of similar blood drives across the country. Barbara’s great leadership and creativity provided the lesbian community with an empowering outlet in a time of frustration and hopelessness over this devastating disease.
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