Stories about radical activism in response to the AIDS crisis run the risk of being white-washed or oversimplified. Movies and documentaries about the start of the epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s, for instance, often imply that response activism was largely the work of white gay men, and typically revolve around New York, the birthplace of the international grassroots organization ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power). In fact, HIV and AIDS activism centrally relied on BIPOC contributions that are often left out of popular narratives, and what happened in New York is only one story.
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, Wallace expanded his current job as director of external relations for HVTNto include the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), which coordinated all major COVID-19 vaccine efficacy trials except Pfizer-BioNTech’s.
Wallace smiles, and says, “My mother and my team accuse me of … being a triplet; because they’re like ‘We don’t understand how one person can do all that you do and still … absorb as much information’ as I do, and have the mastery of having to categorize it and spit it back out without much concern or draw there.”