ACT UP 25 was a tremendous success. I was tremendously proud of being able to help support the action as a member of Times Up! helping bring the Times Up! sound bike for the action. I ran into friends from across the country to the action. It was also the twentieth anniversary of my entry into activism with the Rodney King verdict. I will never forget that day in the spring of 1992 when we heard the police who attacked King had been acquitted. It was then that I learned there was something terribly wrong. My point of entry after that was AIDS activism, where I have remained in one form or another for the last two decades.
|photo by michael kink|
|Running into friends at the demo. My old writing buddy Liz Highleyman took this shot.|
|New Alternative director and ACT UP veteran Kate Barnhart and myself at the action.|
Photo by Robin Occupy Milim
|The Times Up! sound bike helped pump up the jam. It also helped service as a sound system. Members of Times Up! were honored to be asked to help by members ACT UP!|
Photo by Robin Occupy Milim
CONTACT: Chip Duckett
For releases, fact sheets, and art, visit media.actupny.com and actupny.com
ACT UP PROTESTS WALL STREET
OVER 1,000 TAKE TO THE STREETS DEMANDING A WALL STREET TAX FOR HEALTH CARE
17 Confirmed Arrested in Acts of Civil Disobedience
April 25, New York - AIDS activists swarmed the streets of lower Manhattan today as they participated in a demonstration commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). The crowd, estimated by organizers as numbering 1250-1500, listed among its demands the institution of a small tax on financial speculative trading on Wall Street, with the proceeds earmarked for HIV/AIDS and other health services.
The demonstrations began at 9:30 AM (as the Wall Street morning bell rang), when a band of nine ACT UP members, dressed in business attire with Robin Hood hats and masks, chained themselves to the lampposts at Wall Street and Broadway, forming a human chain and blocking traffic on Broadway in an act of civil disobedience to draw attention to the need for the financial speculation tax. After half an hour, police cut the chains and arrested all nine.
A second act of civil disobedience took place later in the morning, as members of the group Housing Works unloaded a truck load of furniture in the middle of Broadway, just west of City Hall Park. Traffic halted as protestors sat on the furniture, calling attention to the cuts in housing support for people with HIV/AIDS and the critical needs for these services. Throughout the day, there were a total confirmed 17 arrests for civil disobedience, with no reports of violence or any problems between police and protestors.
Crowds began gathering on the west side of City Hall at 11 AM, to hear a number of speakers talk about HIV/AIDS issues, including ACT-UP/GMHC founder Larry Kramer, Eric Sawyer (ACT UP and UNAIDS), and Annette Gaudino (Health Care for the 99%). (NOTE: Full list of speakers at the bottom of the release).
The throngs then marched down Broadway, detouring for a demonstration outside the 180 Worth Street offices of the Human Resources Administration, specifically directed at Commissioner Robert Doar and his attempts to institute controversial new policies (like mandatory drug testing and work requirements) in order to rapidly reduce the number of people eligible for government HIV/AIDS services in New York.
The demonstration ended shortly after 2:00 PM back at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, the site of the morning’s first protests and arrests. Longtime ACT UP member Andy Velez led a moving moment in which the hundreds of assembled AIDS activists called out names of friends and loved ones lost to AIDS.
A number of other organizations aligned themselves with ACT UP and participated alongside the group during the 25th Anniversary Protest, among them Housing Works, Vocal NY, National Nurses Union, and Occupy Wall Street – each adding their own flavor to the demands and the action, and many providing speakers (see list below). Hundreds of members from ACT UP chapters in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore were also bused in for the protest.
LIST OF SPEAKERS AT CITY HALL RALLY:
HISTORY OF ACT UP AND ACT UP INTO THE FUTURE:
Larry Kramer, ACT UP/GMHC founder
Eric Sawyer, ACT UP and UNAIDS
Brent Nicholson Earle, ACT UP
HOUSING ISSUES FOR PEOPLE WITH HIV/AIDS:
Douglas Sanders, Housing Works
LOCAL HIV/AIDS ISSUES:
Wanda Hernandez, Vocal NY
GLOBAL HIV/AIDS ISSUES:
Amanda Lugg, African Services Committee
HEALTHCARE ISSUES & THE FINANCIAL SPECULATIVE TAX
Annette Gaudino, Health Care for the 99%/OWS
Sam Aldi, National Nurses United