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For June 25, 2017
New York City

Kyle Dacuyan | kyledacuyan (at)
(703) 380-4023


Now in its 30th year, the groundbreaking AIDS advocacy group ACT UP will join a contingent of resistance organizations leading this year’s NYC Pride Parade.


WHAT: Resistance Contingent at NYC Pride

DATE: Sun June 25

TIME: Gather at 10AM. March at 12:00pm

WHERE: Gather at 41st Street between Park and Madison Ave.


NEW YORK—On June 25, members of ACT UP will march in the lead section of the NYC Pride Parade with a contingent honoring the place of civil disobedience, visible action, and resistance in the LGBTQ community. Other organizations in the resistance contingent include Rise + Resist, United Thru Action, and Gays Against Guns.

 ACT UP’s participation in the Parade will call back to the group’s history of provocative, creative gestures, props, and action. Members will be bearing five coffins down the parade route to symbolize critical AIDS-related services and programs under direct threat from the Trump Administration. These include: Medicaid, PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), Ryan White CARE Act, Affordable Care Act, and Sex Education.

 "The budget cuts under the proposed Republican healthcare plan aka "Trumpcare" will slash funding for Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act which people living with HIV rely on for healthcare," said Michael Venturiello, ACT UP member.  "We must do everything in our power to stop the Republican healthcare or "deathcare" plan from causing tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance."

 Earlier this year, Heritage of Pride faced pressure to acknowledge the increased necessity for the kinds of bold, disruptive tactics pioneered by ACT UP and other resistance groups.


ACT UP 30th Anniv. Conference Being Livestreamed - 11AM - 6:30 PM EST

Today's conference "30 Years of ACT UP/NY: Hidden Histories and Voices, Lessons Learned" is being livestreamed from 11AM - 6PM Eastern Standard Time.  Hopefully it'll be streaming most of the day, but please be patient during technical difficulties and conference breaks.

2.  Scroll down to the first post, and the livestream should be there at the top.  
If you tune in early, comment and let us know how the audio and video are!
Please share widely!



30 Years of ACT UP/NY: Hidden Histories and Voices, Lessons Learned Sunday, June 18
10:30 AM - 6:30 PM (breakfast at 10:30 AM)

LGBT Center, 208 W. 13th St. (bet. 7th & 8th Aves.), Manhattan - Rooms 301 & 310 - wheelchair-accessible

Co-sponsored by ACT UP/NY, Out-FM (LGBT program on WBAI, 99.5 FM), & The Center


Hurry, Register Now →


Longtime and newer AIDS activists from ACT UP/NY, the iconic AIDS direct-action group, and allied organizations will share secrets of success at a daylong conference on Sunday, June 18. "30 Years of ACT UP/NY: Hidden Histories and Voices, Lessons Learned" will spotlight more than 30 speakers and video clips from throughout the organization's history.

“In the age of Trump, activists need to create new strategies to win. Examining the history of this very effective activist group will be inspirational to those fighting for social justice now,” said John Riley, a current ACT UP/NY member and co-producer of Out-FM, a weekly progressive LGBT program on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM. (Out-FM is co-sponsoring the conference along with The LGBT Community Center in Manhattan, which will host the event.)

"This conference represents an important reclamation of lost movement history," said Bob Lederer, coordinator of the conference planning committee, former ACT UP member, and Out-FM co-producer. "Too many books, films, and articles about ACT UP have omitted or barely mentioned the powerful campaigns and actions on HIV/AIDS issues focused on women, people of color, drug users, young people, and the Global South, and the role played by members of these communities in the coalitions that mounted those often-successful efforts. Many ACT UP histories falsely report that the group disbanded in the early '90s, when in fact it has persisted and continues to win victories up until today."

An important part of the event will highlight the key role played in the AIDS fight by ACT UP's caucuses and committees from particular discriminated-against communities - such as the Women's Caucus, the Latina/o Caucus, the Majority Action Committee (primarily people of color), and groups fighting for the rights of current and former drug users. "These groups led campaigns that achieved lifesaving victories," said longtime ACT UP member and conference planner Andy Velez.

Terri Wilder, another conference planner and activist involved in ACT UP's campaigns for access to pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP & PEP), particularly for women, said, "We will highlight campaigns that began years ago but now continue in new ways, changing the terrain in the battle against HIV/AIDS. We want to re-engage people in these struggles, which particularly for poor people, communities of color, and women, are as pressing as ever. AIDS is not over!"

The conference will include presentations about battles for treatment and healthcare access, housing, social services and survival benefits, the transformation of AIDS research, and against HIV criminalization, prisoner mistreatment, and quarantine of HIV-positive Haitians at Guantanamo. In addition, there will be training workshops on nonviolent direct action in the Trump era and communications strategies for activists.

Velez noted, "We will also hear from people who moved from ACT UP's grassroots volunteer activism to permanent organizations with full-time staffs providing important AIDS services and advocacy today, such as Housing Works, VOCAL-NY, Health GAP (Global Access Project), and numerous harm reduction organizations around New York City."

Later this year, videos of each conference panel will be available to the public on along with other archival materials about the organization's history.

ACT UP/NY and Out-FM would like to thank Tom Viola and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as well as The LGBT Center, for their generous support of this conference.


About ACT UP

Founded in 1987, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. ACT UP meets every Monday night at 7pm in New York City at the LGBT Community Center, 208 West 13th Street, off 7th Ave.

NEW-CONFERENCE PROGRAM & SCHEDULE, 30 Years of ACT UP/NY: "Hidden Histories and Voices, Lessons Learned"


Sunday, June 18 - 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM

The LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., Manhattan - Rooms 301 & 310

Moderators: Ken Bing, Naomi Brussel, Cesar Carrasco, Annette Gaudino, Emmaia Gelman, Amanda Lugg, Emily Sanderson, Staci Smith


10:30 - 11:00 AM - Room 301: Registration, light breakfast, slide show (videos in Room 310)

11:00 - 11:10 AM - Welcome, introduction

11:10 - 11:20 AM - Video excerpts

11:20 - 11:55 PM – Overview / Context

            Bob Lederer, Terri Wilder, Andy Velez

11:55 - 12:00 PM - Outline of conference program

  • Track #1 - 12:00 - 1:25 PM

    First Panel: Campaigns supporting particular HIV-threatened communities in NY/U.S. - Part 1

    • 12:00 - People of color

      • Majority Actions Committee
        Carl Strange
      • VOCAL-NY
    • 12:25 - Latinas/Latinos & Latin Americans

      • Latina/o Caucus, ACT UP/Puerto Rico & ACT UP/Americas
        Cesar Carrasco & Luis Santiago
    • 12:50 - Youth

      • Youth Education Life Line (YELL)
        Kate Barnhart
      • Current Youth Caucus
        Legacee Jefferson
  •             1:10 - DISCUSSION - 15 min.

  • 1:25 - 2:05 PM - LUNCH BREAK

      • - small groups as desired

      • - videos on HIV+ women activists & Latina/o Caucus (in Room 310)

  • Track #1 - 2:05 - 3:40

  • Second Panel: Campaigns supporting particular HIV-threatened communities in NY/U.S. - Part 2

    • 2:05 - Drug Users/Harm Reduction

      • Needle Exchange/harm Reduction
        Tim Santamour
      • Post-2000 Activism / Hepatitis C
        Annette Gaudino
    • 2:30 - Women

      • CDC Campaign on AIDS Definition
        Maxine Wolfe (video)
      • Disability Benefits
        Terry McGovern
      • Research on/Inclusion of Women (early years)
        Linda Meredith
      • Research on/Inclusion of Women (later years)
        Michelle Lopez
      • The Women of ACT UP/NY: Fight Back! Fight AIDS!
        Terri Wilder
  • 3:20 - DISCUSSION - 20 min.

                 Track #2 - 2:15 - 3:45 PM (in Rm. 310):

                 Training: Nonviolent Direct Action in the Age of Trump

    • Jamie Bauer & Alexis Danzig

Track #1 - 3:40-6:05

Third Panel: Access to Treatment and Care, Survival Benefits, Criminalization, and New Research Directions

    • 3:40 - Global Treatment and Prevention Battles

      • Early Years; Founding of Health GAP
        Eric Sawyer
      • Health GAP Part I
        Sharonann Lynch
      • Health GAP Part II
        Emily Sanderson
    • 4:05 Domestic Treatment and Healthcare Access

      • Drug Price-gouging
        Mark Milano
      • Clinical Trials Directory
        Mark Milano
      • Health Insurance Reform
        Karin Timour
      • Single-payer Health Plan
        Mark Hannay

               4:35 - DISCUSSION - 20 min.

    • 4:55 - Housing/Social Services/Survival Benefits/Hospital Care

      • Homelessness Activism/Housing Works
        Charles King
      • City AIDS Actions
        B.C. Craig
    • 5:15 - Prison/Criminalization/Quarantine

      • Guantanamo - Imprisonment of HIV+ Haitians
        Esther Kaplan
      • Prison Issues
        Emmaia Gelman & Mel Stevens
      • HIV+ Criminalization
        Robert Suttle
    • 5:35 - Transforming AIDS Research

      • Musical Inspiration: "Storm the NIH"
        the late Tony Malliaris (video)
      • AIDS Cure Project
        John Riley
      • Alternative Treatments
        Bob Lederer

                5:50 - DISCUSSION - 15 min.

    • Track #2 - 4:15 - 5:45 PM (in Rm. 310):

      Speak Up, Tweet Back, Write AIDS: Activist Messaging 101 in the Social Media Age

      Jennifer Johnson Avril, Mathew Rodriguez, Brandon Cuicchi

      6:05 - 6:30 PM - Wrap-Up Session

    • 6:05 - Announcements of Upcoming Activities

    • 6:15 - Closing: Lessons Learned, Current Campaigns

      • Housing Works
        Mikola De Roo
      • ACT UP/NY
        Brandon Cuicchi



Many lifesaving victories, won by ACT UP/NY and other activists with combinations of rallies, civil disobedience, testimony, media work, lobbying, and coalition-building, will be discussed at this conference. To cite just 4 of the most significant:

  1. Greatly expanding global AIDS treatment access. One of ACT UP/NY's greatest successes was playing a key role, along with ACT UP/Philadelphia, in building a broad coalition of AIDS advocacy groups and physicians - now an 18-year-old international advocacy organization called Health GAP (Global Access Project). Working with allies worldwide, particularly the South African Treatment Action Campaign, as well as groups in Thailand, Brazil, and the European Union, Health GAP won funding for aid programs and changes in government patent policies that have provided lifesaving AIDS medications – mostly low-cost generic drugs -- to over 17 million people with HIV in poor countries throughout the Global South (according to the World Health Organization).

  2. Establishing needle-exchange/harm reduction programs. Many current and former drug users and community activists have worked to legalize and fund needle-exchanges and other harm reduction programs in New York State, nationwide, and globally. While these efforts began before ACT UP/NY's involvement, the group's high-profile civil disobedience dramatized the issue and won a major court victory based on the necessity of needle exchange to stem the AIDS epidemic among injection drug users. As the scope of issues impacting drug users became more visible, ACT UP chapters across the country played a major role in national coalition efforts addressing such issues as decriminalization/ legalization, the prison-industrial complex system, access to effective and appropriate drug treatment, and a campaign forcing the Clinton Administration to admit that science supported the AIDS-reduction power of needle-exchange, even though it still refused to fund such programs. Building on the histories of women who self-identified as having had an abortion and the visibility of HIV+/PWA self- advocacy, current and former drug users (ACT UP members among them) began stepping forward to create drug user unions that expanded the dialogue, demanding the right to directly influence or create drug policy and harm reduction programs, including overdose prevention and reversal education, that have saved and will save thousands of lives of drug users and their loved ones.

  3. Correcting inaccurate AIDS-related science and definitions to include women. The National ACT UP Women's Caucus led a four-year campaign by a broad coalition demanding that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control broaden the official definition of AIDS to cover HIV-related illnesses that particularly affect women and injection drug users. They were largely successful, and further pressure, including a lawsuit, forced to the Social Security Administration to grant disability benefits to that broader group of people with AIDS. In addition, the Caucus's efforts with others resulted in the formation of a first-ever, women- focused research committee within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pressuring them to conduct research into how HIV drugs work in HIV-positive women’s bodies.  The Food and Drug Administration began to recommend that pharmaceutical drug research include recruitment and analyses of the effectiveness and side effects of HIV treatments in women. As a result, major obstacles to women in enrolling in clinical trials – not just for AIDS drugs but any drugs – were dismantled.

  4. Expanding rights to affordable health insurance for New York State residents. In the early-to-mid 1990s, ACT UP/NY built a coalition with other disease groups (“New Yorkers for Accessible Health Coverage”) that successfully protested and lobbied to pass laws that guarantee every resident the right to purchase health insurance at the same price, regardless of gender, age, occupation, or a "pre-existing condition." The law also included other consumer protections, many of which were incorporated in the federal Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) in 2010. ACT UP also has a long history of advocating for universal health care, and in particular for a single-payer national health insurance program for all US and/or New York residents. During the early part of the Clinton administration, several ACT UP chapters and their HIV/AIDS advocacy allies were key local and national leaders of multi-constituency coalitions seeking to push a comprehensive health care reform bill through Congress, ultimately to no avail at that time, but setting the stage for later battles that won gains.