A lifelong activist for social and environmental justice, Kevin McVeigh was among the founders of two prominent antinuclear and environmental organizations in Northern California, the Pelican Alliance (1978) and Interhelp (1981). After relocating to Massachusetts, he continued in environmental activism, founding the Green River Center in Greenfield in 1987, but in response to the intense public health crisis, he gradually shifted his focus to become an advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS. As a founder of the AIDS Community Group of Franklin County (Mass.), he has coordinated AIDS services for Tapestry Health, a not-for-profit organization providing affordable health care to in Western Massachusetts.
The McVeigh Papers document a career as a committed antinuclear activist and advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS. The collection includes organizational materials from each of the groups McVeigh helped found: The Pelican Alliance, Interhelp, the Green River Center, the AIDS Community Group of Franklin County, and Tapestry Health, as well as correspondence, newspaper clippings, journals and magazines related to the issues concerning, notes from HIV/AIDS caregivers’ conferences, materials relating to men’s support groups, and other material related to environmental protection and anti-war activism. Finally, the collection includes audio files of an oral history (approximately two hours) conducted with McVeigh in July 2010, and a small collection of antinuclear books from small publishing houses.
Background on Kevin McVeigh
An anti-nuclear activist and HIV/AIDS advocate, Kevin McVeigh was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1944 and educated at Holy Cross College and Fordham University. At Fordham, he studied under the noted cultural historian Thomas Berry, receiving a graduate degree in comparative religions. During his University years, McVeigh became a committed political activist, joining the movement to oppose the Vietnam War and working for voter registration.
Although McVeigh pursued a standard academic career, taking teaching position in comparative religions at several universities, he recalls being unenthusiastic about the work. Living in California in the late 1970s, he abandoned the academy to take part in building the antinuclear and environmental movements. In 1978 he helped found the Pelican Alliance (an affiliate of the Abalone Alliance), a nonviolent civil disobedience organization opposing nuclear power plant construction and other industrial projects in the state, including the Rancho Seco reactor near Sacramento. Three years later, he co-founded Interhelp, a network of anti-nuclear activists and educators.
After relocating to western Massachusetts, McVeigh founded the Green River Center in 1987, an organization focused on anti-nuclear and environmental issues, but witnessing the rise of the HIV/AIDS crisis, he shifted course. After founding the AIDS community Group of Franklin County, he was later hired by Tapestry Health to direct AIDS services in Greenfield, Massachusetts. As an HIV/AIDS advocate, McVeigh has also been involved with several related groups, including the Massachusetts HIV Prevention Planning Group and the Massachusetts Association of Title Two HIV Care Coordinators.
The McVeigh Papers document over thirty years of the career of an ardent anti-nuclear activist and HIV/AIDS advocate, covering the period from about 1978 until 2009. Beginning in California in the late 1970s, McVeigh’s anti-nuclear activism extended to issues of disarmament, citizen lobbying and activism, as well as environmentalism. As an advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS, his work extended to a broad range of issues, including AIDS prevention and education, support services for caregivers, and men’s groups.
McVeigh’s papers include organizational materials and literature from a number of organizations, including the Pelican Alliance, Interhelp, the Green River Center, the AIDS Community Group of Franklin County, and Tapestry Health. Finally, the collection includes audio files of an oral history (approximately two hours) conducted with McVeigh in July 2010, and a small collection of anti-nuclear books published by small presses.
The collection is organized into two series:
- Series 1: Anti-nuclear and environmental materials
- Series 2: HIV/AIDS advocacy
Gift of Kevin McVeigh, 2010.
Processed by Morgan Hubbard, July 2010.
- Traprock Peace Center Records (MS 080)
- Randy Kehler Papers (MS 396)
Books in the Kevin McVeigh Papers were separated from the collection and cataloged individually in the Special Collections
- Citizen summitry : keeping the peace when it matters too much to be left to politicians / edited by Don Carlson and Craig Comstock
- Despair and personal power in the nuclear age / Joanna Macy
- Forming spiritual base communities in the U.S.A. / Gene Knudsen-Hoffman
- Growing up scared? : the psychological effect of the nuclear threat on children / Benina Berger Gould, Susan Moon, Judith Van Hoorn, editors
- Missile envy : the arms race and nuclear war / Helen Caldicott
- An outbreak of peace / Sarah Pirtle ; illustrated by Louise Godchaux … [et al.] with Tanya Demarais … [et al.]
- Risking peace : why we sat in the road / Jackie Cabasso and Susan Moon, editors
- Securing our planet : how to succeed when threats are too risky and thereâ€™s really no defense / edited by Don Carlson and Craig Comstock
- A shallow pool of time : an HIV+ woman grapples with the AIDS epidemic / Fran Peavey
- Staying alive : the psychology of human survival / Roger Walsh ; [forewords by Dalai Lama and Linus Pauling]
- Thinking like a mountain : towards a council of all beings / John Seed … [et al.] ; illustrations by Dailan Pugh
Cite as: Kevin McVeigh Papers (MS 668). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.
- AIDS (Disease)
- AIDS Community Group of Franklin County
- AIDS activists--Massachusetts
- Antinuclear movement--California
- Green River Center (Greenfield, Mass.)
- Pelican Alliance
- Public health--Massachusetts
- Tapestry Health
- McVeigh, Kevin
Types of material
- Oral histories