RV Park Bars HIV Toddler from Pool
RV Park Bars HIV Toddler from Pool
Dick and Silvia Glover were asked this summer to keep their HIV-positive foster son Caleb from using the public pool and showers at an Alabama RV resort, for fear that he might spread the virus to others. AIDS activists cried discrimination, and one group is planning a Labor Day protest at the resort.
FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
Moving on to something very different. The fight against racial discrimination has raged in America for centuries. But our next story is about a new struggle - discrimination against people with HIV and AIDS at the Wales West Light Railway, an RV resort in Silverhill, Alabama.
In July, a couple was asked to keep their HIV positive foster son out of the public pool and shower. The property owner said he was worried that the toddler might pose a health risk to other patrons. The incident made national news. And now, a group of AIDS awareness activists is planning what it calls a swim in.
About 150 people, many of them HIV positive, will descend on the resort's pools and showers this labor day to protest the owner's decision.
In a few minutes, we're going to speak with the property owner. But first, I'm joined by Silvia Glover. She's the foster mother of 2-year-old Caleb, the boy who was kept from using several parts of the resort. Ms. Glover, welcome.
Ms. SILVIA GLOVER (Foster Mother of Caleb): Thank you. It's good to be here.
CHIDEYA: So, I want to know more about what exactly happened at the resort.
Ms. GLOVER: Well, basically, I mentioned that my son, Caleb, was HIV when we checked in. And then, later, one of the staff or workers there in the office come down and told us that, you know, that he wasn't to be allowed to use the shower or the swimming pool because they were scared that his HIV would be of danger to the other guests.
CHIDEYA: Well, the owner, Ken Zadnichek, says he told the Mobile Press-Register that he wanted you to temporarily keep your foster child out of the common areas until he receive documentation from the physician or the health department saying it was safe. Now, do you fault him for asking?
Ms. GLOVER: Yes, because that's, of course, breaking Caleb's civil rights and you're also offending a lot of other HIV individuals, thousands and thousands for that fact. And so he had no right under the laws of this land to ask anything of us concerning Caleb.
CHIDEYA: Now, you also think that there are may be other reasons on the HIV status that this became an issue. What other reasons?
Ms. GLOVER: I had wondered at the time when they came down, the very first thing they said it's not because his black. But me and my husband both felt that it might have been coming from that because he is black and, of course, there were no other black children in there at the park. And he would have realized right of the bat, you couldn't discriminate against blacks. But I don't think that he realized that he could discriminate against HIV. But I (audio gap) that with all the education he has been receiving and all, that from now that all HIV and AIDS people (audio gap) come.
CHIDEYA: Well, you know, your family is interracial by design. You have three biological sons, a daughter you adopted when she was 5, and 60 foster children who've come into your home over the last 25 years. With your daughter now being a paraplegic and your husband having cancer, you've got so much on your plate. Why do you add this to the many fights that you have, no doubt, fought over your life?
Ms. GLOVER: Well, you now, I didn't plan it. We picked up Caleb at the hospital and fell in love with him, and learned that he was HIV. And we're the only parents he's ever known. And I would never back away. The biggest thing Caleb needs is love. And I don't have a lot of things in this life but I can love a child.
CHIDEYA: Well, Mrs. Glover, thank you so much for sharing your story.
Ms. GLOVER: Thank you.
CHIDEYA: Silvia Glover is the foster mother of 2-year-old Caleb Glover.
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