Eric Smith: human rights champion

Eric Smith

“HALIFAX — A former Nova Scotia school teacher who spent decades advocating for the rights of people with HIV accepted a provincial human rights award Monday, December 10, 2018. Eric Smith was among six individuals and groups recognized by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission at the Halifax ceremony…”

Eric Smith’s recognition is well deserved and long overdue. And that description barely begins to do justice to Smith’s contributions to human rights in Nova Scotia.

If you’d like to know a little more about Smith — and what life was like in Nova Scotia in the late 1980s for a person known to be carrying the AIDS virus — this story may be of interest.

The story was written by Dan O’Connell, at the time a student in the King’s one-year Bachelor of Journalism program. It appeared in Cities, a magazine I edited and published from 1987-89.

“LEANING ACROSS THE TABLE AT RUMOURS, Smith says, “It’s interesting the number of people who talk to you at the club who will walk past you on the street. They won’t take the chance of letting on they know who you are.”
It is 2 a.m. on the morning after Eric Smith’s birthday. After a few beers, he is prepared to admit that he isn’t telling the truth when he says he has 10 years to live. He figures his death will come sooner than that. He says he tells people he will live for 10 years because people get very uncomfortable when he tells them he figures he’ll be dead in three years.”The conversation tends to just stop. People seem to be able to handle 10 years. They have a hard time when you say three.”
Eric Smith is 31 years and 14 hours old…

Eric Smith is now 61 years old. And counting.

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