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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


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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.