Michael Goldstein, 1953-2011 - Page 2

Longtime activist sought to rally people around a progressive agenda for San Francisco

Michael Goldstein portrait by Debra Walker

Finally at the end of September, Michael was admitted to General Hospital. With the amazing care of Ward 5A, Diane Jones, and all the amazing General Hospital workers, as well as Laguna Honda Staff and at his final resting place UCSF — his care, though coming too late, was the best in the world and gave Michael a fighting chance. He was clearly comforted and supported by his community in his final days, support that mattered so much to him.

If you knew Michael, you know there is a "what comes out of this" part. We all got to really see the results of the hard work we all participated in to rebuild General Hospital, to rebuild Laguna Honda, and to provide healthcare access to everyone, even the poorest among us. Michael, personally, was able to experience the fruits of our collective labor over these years.

He also experienced some areas where there really is a need for some work. We need to remember that AIDS/HIV is still killing people every day. We must improve people's access to healthcare. We need to protect patients' access to medical cannabis, even in General Hospital. We need services and we need housing, particularly affordable housing for those who need it, people struggling through this bad economy.

These are our issues and this is our agenda on the left that we have been fighting for.

I will never forget Michael. One of the last real discussions we had about politics was around election time, with Michael remembering the 2010 elections. Michael was probably more upset about what has come out of that election — the beginning of a political shift to the right in San Francisco — than many.

He has been such an integral part of the work that brought our progressive community together and he was devastated by the events tearing it apart. More than anything, he wanted to bring us together, but he ran out of time.

Michael had an agenda. His agenda was to move forward our agenda. It is time to come together and do that.

Debra Walker is an artist, activist, DCCC member, and city commissioner who ran for the District 6 seat on the Board of Supervisors last year.


Great obituary. Thank you.

Posted by David Elliott Lewis on Dec. 06, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

Thanks for the background information on Michael's life. His passing is a sad loss for many in the city. On December 2nd, the day of his passing, I spent a day manually searching through tens of thousands of unlabeled and unindexed photos in search of images of him. I found these 26 photos which I posted in a facebook photo album titled:
Michael Goldstein, 1953 - 2011: A life of Activism and Service.

Posted by David Elliott Lewis on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 5:38 am

Gone but not to be forgotten.
Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bhodisvaha.
Blessings on Debra, Lorae and their Band of Angels.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 11:30 am

Very beautiful words, dearest sister Debra. As beautiful as your transcendental art! I have spent time with you in the past 2 months, and saw first-hand your unwavering commitment of service to your friend, Michael Goldstein. He was blessed to have you in his corner.

I am so proud to have you for a sister.

Posted by Susan Walker on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

I didn't Michael Goldstein, but I honor him and his work. However, I am left feeling extremely sad that he did not access health care in a more timely manner. Forgive me, but I must ask this question, How does one explain a lack of health care for a HIV/AIDS diagnosis in San Francisco? I know he is not unique, but I am ... stunned....

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

Human beings are so much more complex than we realize. Especially around emotions which always seem to be able to evade and outmaneuver logic. I'm not speaking for Michael personally, but in general, there are so many reasons why people are not in care. Some that I have experienced personally and some that I have witnessed in my 8 years serving people with HIV/AIDS. Perhaps the easiest to understand is that people can get tired of living every moment of one's life with a disease. After a decade or two, that can wear you down. This can be exacerbated by the struggle for basic dignity disabled folks experience, especially in high cost SF, where we are in last place in the nation in terms of meeting the housing needs of people with HIV/AIDS -- and forget about providing safe, decent, and affordable housing. The power of denial is amazing. I understand why we hear about women who are completely in denial of being pregnant all the way up to the start of labor. Sometimes people just don't want to be 'sick' and so they go into denial as a way of avoiding these very uncomfortable feelings. This is what I've been trying to explain to the people who don't have AIDS who are in charge of our health care system, especially around their passion for the latest fad of 'Test & Treat'. They seem to think that if they push all of the nonprofits to push people to get tested, then those folks will miraculously enroll in treatment and everything will be great. It's a lot more complicated than that. Anyway, I feel a soapbox coming on so I will step down now....

Posted by Brian Basinger on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 7:19 am

I think the last time I saw Michael in person was during your campaign... at your house, at the headquarters, on the street with you...

He was part of so many campaigns that I worked on over the years...

I will miss his dedication, his energy, his sense of humor, his ideas and most of all, his spirit.

Posted by Guest Brad Paul on Dec. 10, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

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