Guy Oreido Weston was born on January 4. He is an accomplished family historian and writer.
While his earliest work focused on profiling the nascent HIV epidemic during its first decades and issues of sexual identity, Weston currently writes about African American genealogy and history. In November 2017, he was appointed as a visiting scholar in the history department at Rutgers University, where he will do research on antebellum free African Americans in New Jersey. His latest research was published in the “Journal of the African American Historical and Genealogical Society.” Under the title “New Jersey: A State Divided on Freedom,” the article recounts fascinating details of free African American communities in southern New Jersey, who represented a majority of African Americans in that region as early as 1790. Weston also chairs the Timbuctoo Advisory Committee, which advises the Westampton Township, NJ governing body on historic preservation issues related to Timbuctoo, a historically African American settlement where Weston’s ancestors bought land in 1829. Further information about Timbuctoo can be found on his website at www.TimbuctooNJ.com.
Weston is one of three children born to Abe Weston, a career military serviceman, and Mary Weston, a homemaker who later became a special education teacher. As a child and young adult, he lived in England, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and the United States, attending eight schools before graduating from Willingboro High School in New Jersey in 1976. Recalling a childhood experience when his family lived in Puerto Rico at Thanksgiving, but was transferred to endure subzero chill factors in North Dakota by January, Weston says his military upbringing helped him to understand the world from multiple vantage points, beginning with his earliest memories. “It’s been an indispensable asset for my work as a writer, as a public speaker, and as a teacher,” he said. “You understand where people are coming from, even when you’re on opposite sides of the debate.”
Weston’s next major writing project is a family memoir about free black people in the north, who he believes are “virtually invisible” in the typical presentation of African Americans prior to the Civil War. He points out that free African Americans represented eleven to fourteen percent of the African American population in the decades leading up to the Civil War, noting that “free African Americans like the main character in ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ are not as uncommon as we might think.” Weston says he has been truly bitten by the genealogy bug, and wonders whether he should finish a public health degree began several years ago, or pursue a degree in a discipline that would sharpen his genealogy skills. Weston has a master’s degree in bilingual/bicultural studies and speaks Spanish with native proficiency as a result of his residence abroad during childhood.
For the past 31 years, Weston has worked full time in HIV/AIDS programs and is currently employed by DC CARE as its executive director. He reports that he will retire from HIV work later this year. DC CARE provides professional development programs for health and social service providers in the District of Columbia and surrounding areas. In this capacity, Weston also conducts training workshops on topics such as Social Determinants of Health, Confidentiality of Health Information, Grant Writing and Fund Development, and Organizational Development. Some of his early (1980s-1990s) writings on HIV/AIDS issues can be found at www.guyweston.com.
Weston is an avid runner and bicyclist. He also maintains a substantial collection of vintage photographs, which can be seen on Facebook from time to time. His favorite is a stunning portrait of his great-great grandmother, who was born in 1870. He resides in Washington, DC with his partner Reggie Covington, where they enjoy road trips to the myriad of attractions surrounding our nation’s capital, long distance bike rides, and international travel, among other things.
We join Guy Weston on this day to celebrate his 59th birthday, and thank him for his support of our community.