In an effort to raise AIDS awareness, about 45 activists gathered at the Wales West Light Railway and RV Resort in Silverhill, Ala., on Labor Day where an HIV-positive boy was barred from the pool and showers until the park’s owner could confirm his presence was not a health hazard according to The Associated Press.
The activists, most of them infected with the HIV virus, traveled to the park where they had a Labor Day picnic.
The 20-acre park made national news when a Saraland, Ala., couple, Dick and Silvia Glover, accused the park of discriminating against their foster son, Caleb, 2.
The Glovers decided to vacation there in early July. When they tried to take their foster son for a swim, Ken Zadnichek told his employees to bar him from the pool and showers until he could confirm that there was no health hazard in letting the boy swim with other guests. The Glovers left the park for accommodations at another RV resort and called reporters.
“Everyone wants to call me the mean old guy that kicked the HIV baby out of the swimming pool, which is nuts,” Zadnichek said. “We were concerned as much about what he would catch from the other kids as what they would get from him.”
The activists, most of whom are affiliated with the Campaign to End AIDS, said in a news release that they originally intended to surprise Zadnichek, reserving several of the park’s 76 sites under the guise of a family reunion.
But Larry Bryant, an HIV-positive resident of Washington, D.C., said to hold an angry protest wouldn’t have accomplished the activists’ aim of raising awareness about the disease and erasing the stigma faced by people living with AIDS and HIV.
Bryant said Zadnichek and his wife, Ann, had been helpful in arranging the activists’ stay.
“We’re glad to see them,” Zadnichek said. “We don’t want to turn anyone away.”
Dick Glover, who suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, wasn’t able to attend. But Sylvia Glover brought Caleb, now 3, who finally went for that swim.