The LGBTQ community of San Francisco lost a legendary activist on January 13, 2021. At the age of 70, Ken Jones, passed away losing his fight with bladder cancer. Fellow activist and friend, Cleve Jones shared the passing of Ken Jones on his Facebook page stating:
Ken Jones was a hero. He survived many struggles. He deeply loved his family and his community, and dedicated his entire life to the movement for peace and justice. He was very grateful to all of you who reached out to him with messages of encouragement and love during his illness. Today Ken lost his fight against cancer. A memorial will be arranged when it is safe once more for us to gather. Rest in Power, Ken. I love you.
A Navy veteran, Jones came to the Bay Area when he was assigned to Treasure Island in 1972. Jones was one of the three activists featured in the 2017 ABC miniseries When We Rise.
Jones, who was diagnosed with HIV in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, was a central figure at the Kaposi’s Sarcoma Research and Education Foundation, now known today as the San Francisco AIDS Foundation as well as was the first African American chair of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee.
Jones shared on his Facebook page in October 2020 that he was fighting bladder cancer and found out at the end of that month when he received his pathology report, his bladder cancer was in stage two and would have to undergo chemotherapy.
In December, Jones detailed his first chemotherapy treatment in a post.
Three days before Christmas, Jones shared another post about his pain regimen. It would his last update on his diagnosis.
Friends of Jones, as well as others, paid tribute to him on social media.
Rest in power KEN JONES. 💔 His was one of the three proud histories shared in #WhenWeRise. An ordained deacon, a dedicated HIV/AIDS activist, he worked hard to desegregate the LGBTQ movement. I will never forget his smile, kindness, and inextinguishable passion for fairness. pic.twitter.com/kgyFo9saWA
— Dustin Lance Black (@DLanceBlack) January 14, 2021
We lost a hero today. Rest in power, my friend. https://t.co/zaqp6MXEOt
— Cleve Jones (@CleveJones1) January 14, 2021
— Castro LGBTQ Cultural District (@Castrolgbtq) January 14, 2021
— A&U Magazine (@au_magazine) January 14, 2021
Tragic news. We've lost an icon, a true pioneer of the LGTBQ civil rights movement. RIP Ken Jones. https://t.co/RHrdqIbis0
— Sister Roma (@SisterRoma) January 14, 2021