In March 1987, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) held its first action in New York. But radical AIDS activism was not born at that time. The AIDS/ARC vigil, a years-long encampment at the Old Federal Building in San Francisco's UN Plaza, had begun a year and a half earlier, and hundreds of LGBT activists and community leaders had been arrested in dozens of actions at that site. The affinity group Citizens for Medical Justice and the larger direct action group AIDS Action Pledge followed in 1986. In late 1987, the San Francisco AIDS Action Pledge decided to change its name to ACT UP to promote the unity of the national movement.
On March 24, 2012, long-time Queer activists came together with younger folks from Occupy SF and Homonomixx to discuss the legacy of ACT UP and its lessons for present and future activism.
Kenyon Farrow - NYC based writer and activist, former executive director of Queers for Economic Justice and current communications manager for Housing Works.
Tommi Avicolli Mecca - queer activist who has been part of social and economic justice movements since the 70’s to today, currently organizing in campaigns demanding affordable housing for all.
Carol Leigh aka Scarlot Harlot - long-time activist, writer and videographer who was instrumental in the organization of the sex worker rights movement, as well as being part of ACT UP.
Cyd Nova - has been involved in the Occupy/Decolonize movement with queer economic justice group Homonomixxx. Organizer for transgender, sex worker and HIV prevention justice.
Dean Oullette - long time organizer with both ACT UP in San Francisco and in NYC. Advocate for sex workers.
Jorge Vieto - An HIV prevention worker for over 7 years and currently a staff member for STOP AIDS. Jorge has been a long time advocate for and member of the leather community.
Liz Highleyman (moderator) - freelance writer, editor, and health educator, ACT UP organizer and street medic for Occupy.
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