Nubar Hovsepian wrote this memorial for Sheila in the Middle East Report, which had published numerous articles by Sheila in the 1980s.
This 2005 article about the changing experience of HIV+ adolescents includes quotes from Sheila:
”This is not like cancer,” says Sheila Ryan, program director of the Special Needs Clinic at Columbia-Presbyterian. ”These families are not a cross-section of the population. These issues would be agonizing for any family to deal with, but the families that are likely to be dealing with H.I.V. are more likely to have problems with substance abuse and mental illness. These are poor families, and even within the poor community more likely to be fragile than others on the same block.” …
”The two issues they keep coming back to,” Sheila Ryan of Columbia-Presbyterian says, ”are the permanence of the virus — the idea that there’s nothing you can do to get rid of it — and what kind of impact it will have on their capacity to have children, which is partly a question about the ways in which they might be impaired or maimed or less than others.”
”Sometimes kids find ways of protecting themselves from the information,” Ryan adds. ”One girl who was in here, at the time we finally said the word H.I.V., she said, ‘But I know I don’t have AIDS.’ I said, ‘How’d you figure that out?’ And she said, ‘Because if you have AIDS, you’re skinny and living in Africa, so I know I don’t have it.’ Or another girl who was 15 — her mother told her the week before she came in here for the first time, and her response to that was simply that her mother had lied to her.”
— From “Their Unexpected Adolescence“, by Jonathan Dee, New York Times, June 26, 2005
Sheila is cited in this report by a director of Faith House in St. Louis:
A larger, unmet challenge still faces us. HIV/AIDS is now the sixth leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Sheila Ryan of the Special Needs Clinic of the New York Presbyterian Hospital warns about a serious lack of services nationwide for HIV-infected teens. Adolescents do not fit into most traditional programs because of their particular learning problems and emotional and behavioral issues. It is past time for our community to address this population.
— From “Faith House gets $500,000 grant from Dana Brown Foundation“, by Mildred Jamison, St. Louis Business Journal, Nov 26, 2000.
An article in Redbook magazine in 1999 quotes Sheila about the patients at the Special Needs Clinic:
Ryan, herself a mother of five, is a rock-solid presence. … “These are people whom the system considers expendable,” says Ryan. “They’ve been beaten down and traumatized, their families have been torn apart. And still they won’t give up. Their will to survive–not just in a physical sense but as human beings–is inspiring.”
Read on for a good overview of the clinic and the unique way it helps their patients:
The Forgotten Children
THEIR MOTHERS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED BY AIDS. THE SYSTEM HAS FORGOTTEN THEM. FINALLY, THERE’S A RAY OF HOPE FOR THE EPIDEMIC’S HIDDEN VICTIMS.
One of Sheila’s book titles prompted a airport-security profiling incident in 1986:
Rema Simon, a 23-year-old citizen of Massachusetts, is of French and Lebanese descent. She works in the Massachusetts State Legislature’s Social Law Library. But on the evening of May 1, she was in Ft. Lauderdale, about to end her vacation and take a Delta Airlines flight back to Boston.
Having passed the usual security check, Simon was on board, waiting for the plane to take off and reading a book, “Palestine Is, but Not in Jordan.” Looking up, she saw a man “carrying a walkie-talkie. He said, ‘Miss, could you please come with me? I have to talk to you.’ ” She followed him off the plane. “We stood outside the door of the aircraft,” she said. “Several flight attendants and airline or airport personnel stood around us.”
In 1981, the New York Times covered a PSC protest held adjacent to the annual New York City parade for the foundation of the state of Israel:
In a message from Israel, Prime Minister Menachem Begin appealed to Israel’s supporters not to allow any retaliatory actions against his country for destroying the Iraqi reactor. …
The crowd, which included marchers from 100 groups and thousands who lined the avenue to cheer them, applauded the Prime Minister’s statement.
The appeal was mocked at a counterdemonstration sponsored by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee attended by some 100 people nearby in Central Park . ”The Salute to Israel parade is a salute to racism, colonialism and repression,” said one banner held aloft there. ”Stop U.S. Aid to Israel,” said another. …
The Palestinian rally in Central Park off Fifth Avenue and 97th Street was called ”A Teach-In on Avoiding War in the Middle East.” Sheila Ryan, an organizer of the teach-in, said that her group’s aim was to ”stop the continuing flow of weapons to the Middle East.” She said this included Israel and Arab nations.
— From “Parade For Israel Reflects Fears Over Reactor Raid“, by Ari Goldman, New York Times, June 15, 1981.
Sheila led these protests every summer for several years:
Sunday, June 3, 1979
By Ruth Landa, Associated Press Writer
DATELINE: NEW YORK
Celebration of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty was an underlying theme of the 15th annual Salute to Israel parade Sunday in which some 75,000 persons sang and danced up Fifth Avenue.
Mayor Edward I. Koch, City Council President Carol Bellamy and other city officials led the costumed paraders up the avenue, marching to the theme song from “Exodus” and waving to observers who lined the street despite intermittent rain.
But several blocks downtown, the peace treaty signed on March 26 was denounced by the Palestine Solidarity Committee which staged its own rally and marched uptown on other avenues in protest.
In November, 1978, the PLO Information Bulletin reported on a PSC-led protest rally at the United Nations. Sheila is quoted as the rally’s organizer, and is shown in the second picture, holding the “No to the Camp David Pact; Yes to Palestinian National Rights.” banner.
PROTEST RALLY IN NEW YORK AGAINST CAMP DAVID
Demonstrators against the Camp David accords delivered messages to the U.S., Israeli and Egyptian missions to the United Nations during a protest march in New York City on September 23. The messages criticized the pact for ignoring the central issue in the Mideast conflict, the Palestinian national question, and declared that this question can only be solved by realization of Palestinian national rights.
The demonstrators protested in particular the role of U.S. President Jimmy Carter in the negotiations; the marchers chanted “Carter, your Camp David Pact won’t bring peace and that’s a fact.” In banners, placards and speeches they demanded that the U.S. government stop its aid to Israel.
The march began with a rally in front of the United Nations, where Hassan Abdul Rahman of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s U.N. office told some 200 demonstrators that only the PLO represents the Palestinian people, and that peace is not possible until the people have their national rights.
Pro-Palestinian Demonstration in New York
The demonstrators bore Palestinian flags and colorful banners, including one proclaiming, “No to the Camp David Pact; Yes to Palestinian National Rights.” As they marched through crowds of Saturday shoppers the protestors chanted, “Carter, Carter, we’re no fools: Sadat and Begin are your tools.”
Sheila Ryan, speaking for the Palestine Solidarity Committee, which organized the event in coordination with Arab community groups, declared that if Carter were genuinely interested in peace in the Middle East, he would stop U.S. aid to Israel and arms shipments to the region. “Carter is a false prophet of peace,” Ryan said. “This is not a peace but a pact for a new kind of war against the Palestinian people.”
— From “Protests Rally In New York Against Camp David“, Palestine: P.L.O. Information Bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 19, Nov 1, 1978. (Screenshot) Archived by New Jersey Solidarity–Activists for the Liberation of Palestine.
This paranoid report to Congress makes Sheila a member of a far-flung conspiracy to destroy America, run by the Prairie Fire Organizing Committee and the Weatherman faction of SDS:
The Palestine Solidarity Committee, which was established in November 1975, is run by PFOC activitists George Cavaletto and Sheila Ryan. They operate this organization from a post office box in Manhattanville Station, New York. Cavaletto was a member of the Weatherman faction of SDS. He was identified by the Flint, Mich. Police Department as having been in attendance at the Weatherman “War Council” in Flint, Mich. in December 1969. He visited Havana in July 1969, presumably to meet with representatives of the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese. Ryan, who had also been active in the Weatherman faction of SDS, was one of the first members to visit Cuba with the Venceremos Brigade. Ryan and Cavaletto both spent a year in Jordan and Lebanon writing propaganda articles for the Palestine Liberation Organization.
We have not been able to locate an online copy of this article, which has been cited in a couple of recent New Left History books, so all we have to go on is the title:
Margie Stamberg, “Sheila Ryan Beaten by Prison Guard,” Washington Free Press, November 23, 1967, 4
The New York Times reported on Sheila’s sentencing on June 23, 1965:
They were released on $300 bond while they filed an appeal:
|55.DC.5.||US v 7 Defs (formerly District of Columbia v) (Dist of Col Ct of Genl Sess) Mar 11, 1965: 7 staged sit-in inside the White House to protest re Selma, Ala; arrested. Je 22: convicted; 180 days; $300 appeal bond. Pending.|
The sit-in protestors were tried and convicted three months later:
From the San Antonio Express, Friday, March 12, 1965, Page 1A and 16A.
The Boston Globe reported on Sheila’s protest and arrest on March 12, 1965.
This photo from the Boston Globe on March 12, 1965 shows Sheila and two other women talking with their lawyer following their arrest at the White House.
The protest was reported in the Long Beach Press Telegram
— From the Press Telegram, Friday, March 12, 1965, page 2.
The sit-in was front-page news in Charleston, West Virginia, which ran the same AP story:
— From “White House Seiged by Sit-In“, the Charleston Gazette, Friday March 12, 1965, Front page and page 27.
The sit-in was front-page news in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on March 12, 1965:
From the front page of the Mt Vernon Register News, Thursday, March 11, 1965: