Charles died of complications due to AIDS
Extracted from the 1992 Zia Regional Rodeo Program
1992 Rodeo Director
New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association
THE NMGRA WOULD LIKE to dedicate the second annual Zia Regional Rodeo to Charles Finley. As rodeo director, Charles Finley's dreams, aspirations and hard work made this rodeo a reality. The people of New Mexico, the Gay and Lesbian community and the spirit of rodeo have been the beneficiaries of his selfless contributions.
Charles Finley served as a board member for Albuquerque's largest community organization, Common Bond, and served on the board for the Albuquerque Social Club. A founding member of the NMGRA and a certified secretary of t he IGRA, he held NMGRA offices of parliamentarian, treasurer, trustee and rodeo director.
With the onset of AIDS, his leadership was felt throughout the state of New Mexico. As president of the New Mexico Association of People Living with AIDS, he successfully assisted in lobbying the state legislature for over $700,000.00 for early intervention, assistance and advocacy programs, and increased medical staffing at the University of New Mexico / Medical School Hospital. As a member of the Stale Materials Review Committee, he represented our community in the selection of texts and videos used to instruct kindergarten through twelveth grades on AIDS education. As co-chair of the Central New Mexico AIDS Consortium, he represented over fifty health, human service, social, religious, labor and educational organizations.
Charles Finley worked through the New Mexico Department of Education to bring a PWA's expertise and presence to seminars for students, faculty and PTA's in the state's school districts. He was appointed by the Secretary of Health and Environment as a chair on the New Mexico AIDS Task Force. In 1991, Charles testified before the state legislature for the passage of a Gay/Lesbian Civil Rights Bill.