April / May 1994
Revis On Top
by Jeffrey L. Newman
Lamar Dwayne Revis stirs up D.C.
Lamar Dwayne Revis is very cautious when talking about the various factions that make up the AIDS community. As director of the newest AIDS service organization in our nation's capital, Revis gets frustrated with the politics of AIDS.
"I think all of the energy that is directed towards the politics of AIDS could be much better spent in the actual battle against the disease and in helping people who are living with the disease. [Sometimes] the energy is directed toward things that really not important. What is important is people and their lives. We're too busy taking care of pleasing and appeasing and trying not to offend various groups, and it just makes the situation much more difficult than it should be."
The 37-year-old Revis should know. Three months ago he took the job as director of the Max Robinson Center, an AIDS support service and food bank for people living with AIDS in Washington, D.C.'s primarily African-American community. He was instantly faced with baggage left by the center's two previous directors. The last one left after it was discovered that his résumé and credentials had been fabricated. Though it was not a reflection on the center, it put doubt in the minds of an already resistant community.
"That situation didn't make it more difficult, the politics of it made it more difficult," he says. "That situation has nothing to do with the present situation. We're moving on from that point."
Revis came to the center, named after the first black anchor of a network news program, who died from AIDS complications two years ago, with no AIDS-service background. Until five years ago he was a civil engineer in the U.S. Air Force. Following that, he worked as a facility manager for the Secret Service, a job he held until just days before coming onboard at the Max Robinson Center.
Quite a career move. But Revis downplays the transition, pointing out that this position required someone with the sort of skills he had mastered in his former careero. "They needed a good manager. They needed someong to take control of this situation and put it on course," says Revis, who holds an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master's degree in business management. "I look at myself as the second generation of those who have joined in this battle with that first wave of those who brought this issue to the forefront."
Listening to Revis talk, you sense it's even deeper than that. "I may not officially have been involved with AIDS, but I've done my own personal battles. I've had numerous friends and acquaintances who have succumbed because of this. More friends than I care to think about. I've always donated money, but I decided that donating money was very easy to do. I needed to make a bigger contribution to this fight and help people who are living with AIDS and make their lives easier."
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