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AIDS Ride Cal Team

1997-2001

 

In 1997, Berkeley staff member Chris Murchison organized the first Cal Team for the California AIDS Ride to raise money for AIDS organizations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In an oral history interview that Fall he recalled how the team came about.

I went into it not expecting that to happen. I went in — I had done the AIDS Ride two years ago, and pretty much did it as an individual, and had a wonderful time and met lots of nice people and enjoyed myself. This year when I figured out that I wanted to do the ride again, I had the idea of getting a bunch of Cal people to do it together — it just began as a real innocent idea. I was showing photographs from the first ride to some friends of mine in Housing [and Dining Services] and they just got so excited about it, and they wanted to do the ride as well. So one of them actually signed up the same day that I did, and we thought, “Well, let’s try to get some other people who’ll do it too.” And it just kind of spread from the two of us to other people that we knew, and then we kept running into other people that we knew who were on campus who wanted to join us. Before long we had a core of people, and we got together and decided to have a team and decided to try to get more people to join us. And through those efforts and through planning programs to tell the campus about the AIDS Ride and tell the campus about what we were trying to do, and by going to staff meetings and holding building parties and doing p.r. work getting ourselves in the Daily Cal and the Berkeleyan and doing training together and helping each other with fund-raising, we developed this amazing little community of faculty, staff, and students, straight and queer. It was an amazingly diverse group of people, and we came together in a way I don’t think I have ever experienced before in my professional life. And we really bonded, and really supported each other and looked out for each other and helped each other. And on the ride itself we were all there for each other. We had beautiful Cal Team jerseys which we had designed for us and which we purchased and wore during the week of the AIDS Ride.

Who designed them for you?

Jenne Mowry, on campus. She’s a graphic designer on campus, and she’s a lesbian herself and she volunteered her time to do our graphic design work for us.

What did they look like?

Oh — they were beautiful! [Laughs] Blue and gold, of course. On the fronts, the shirt was divided down the middle and on the right-hand side the shirt had a blue background with like a hundred “Cals” — little Cal scripts in yellow, or in gold — different sizes and shapes and different perspectives, all over that side of the shirt. On the other side it had another Cal logo, a yellow background with a blue Cal logo. And then the sleeves were blue. Along the sides of the shirts they had a big, huge “UC Berkeley” on one side and “Cal Team” on the other side. Then on the back of the shirts it was all blue with yellow lettering. It had a big, huge bull’s eye, and in the middle it said “Cal Team.” And then we had our sponsor, the University Health Services, had their logo there, and the name of the company that made the jerseys. Yeah, they were very bright. Makes for a very visible [image] — especially when you have thirty-three people wearing them. It was great. I felt very proud to be on the road and to see all these Cal people together riding.

What were some of the highlights of the trip?

I think finding a group of Cal people at a pit stop or at lunch, and just joining them and sharing stories about the day, people we’d met or things we’d done or seen, and having a good laugh or a cry or a serious moment. It was like seeing family on the road. Excited to see them, and wanting to hug them and catch up with their day and find out how they’re doing. That was the big highlight for me. We also had a tent area in each camp site — we called it the Cal Village — we put all our tents together. And it was really nice getting to camp at night and getting to the Cal Village, because it really felt like coming home. You’d get there, and there’d be some people who were there already and they would greet you and ask you how your day had gone. They’d offer maybe to help set your tent up, and kind of help you get directed in the campus site. You know: “The showers are over there, food’s over there, massage tents are over there.” It was just a wonderful feeling to arrive in the Village every night. It felt so warm. And then just to hang out in the camp sometimes and hang out in each other’s tents. Just talk and laugh and get to know each other. That was definitely a highlight for me. Definitely a highlight.

How much money did you raise?

We raised $110,000 as a team. We had a goal of $100,000, and we individually were supposed to raise $2500 to participate in the AIDS Ride. That’s required. So the way that we calculated our group, the amount of money, was that we would take each individual’s fund-raising accounts and total those up, and then we also would add any money we raised as a group, because we had a number of group fund-raising events. So that grand total was about $110,000. Which is amazing, which is really good.

Read More About It

  • Chris Murchison, A Cal Adventure: My Life and Times at UC Berkeley, 1991-1997, Gay Bears! Oral History Project, The University Archives, University of California, Berkeley
  • Cal Team web site: http://www.calteam.org/
 
 

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Copyright 2002 Regents of the University of California. Email: benemann@law.berkeley.edu.