Desert AIDS Project to honor Hank Plante with Steve Chase Award

Most people know Hank Plante for his hard hitting, insightful political reporting and analysis.

Anyone who’s somebody in the world of politics has been interviewed by Plante.

“He was a nobody when I met him, he had just been elected to the Senate and he just lit up the room,” Plante says as he points to a picture of former president Barack Obama that hangs on his wall among a sea of other presidents, politicos and celebrities. 

But what many don’t know, in the 80s Plante obliterated barriers, as one of the first openly gay reporters speaking truth and informing his community and world about a new virus and syndrome … HIV / AIDS. 

“Nearly 3000 cases of AIDS have already hit this city half those people have died,” Plant says in footage one of his stories during the epidemic.

“I think we actually saved people’s lives those of us who were reporting on it because the government wasn’t talking about it, the Reagan administration wasn’t talking about it when we started and so those of us who were reporting on it on a regular basis we were telling people how to not get the disease,” says Plant.

That’s why the Desert AIDS Project is awarding him with an honor reserved for those who use their lives to change others for the better: the Steve Chase Humanitarian Award.

“He was just that steady force of truth that kept coming back and telling and retelling and finding the human part of that story you know cause it was at at time when people were treating anybody who was living with HIV as less than human,” says Steven Henke, Desert AIDS Project director of community development.

Over the years Plante has received many awards for his journalism including the Peabody Award, but he says this award speaks to his heart, “Covering AIDS was a way to channel my grief and my anger about the disease about losing so many of my friends so to have my work honored like this really means the world to me.”

The Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards are the non profit’s biggest fundraiser of the year. They fund healthcare and programs at the Desert AIDS Project. They will be on February 8, 2020.

For more information and tickets click here: Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards

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