Remembering Robert Shope: father, teacher, and HIV trailblazer

AMP Stories

An AMP Interview Stories, Historic, AIDS Organization / Leader, Caregiving, Family / Loved Ones, LGBTQ Community, Women, White
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Becca Shope

Becca Shope shares highly personal memories of her father, Robert Shope, and her family in the 1980s when her father was fighting AIDS. She reflects on how her own life was profoundly shaped by her father’s courage in the face of his illness. Robert was a beloved kindergarten teacher in Seattle public schools, and the first teacher to publicly acknowledge he had AIDS. Upon learning of his illness, he created the district’s first AIDS and HIV related curriculum, and in turn helped his daughter better understand the disease and how to cope with the impact on her own life. Becca recalls how the community’s support for her father at his time of need was extraordinary, and recounts his last days as the family gathered to say goodbye. Through her loss and grief, Becca learned from her father’s example that “love and empathy is the answer for everything.”

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