How ACT UP changed the face of AIDS and activism

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
Schulman, Sarah
Ciesemier, Kendall
American Civil Liberties Union
October 2023
Abstract / Description

October marks LGBTQ History Month, and this week on At Liberty we are honoring the legacy of LGBTQ activism throughout the AIDS epidemic. Throughout the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, AIDS claimed the lives of thousands of New Yorkers per year, with city, state, and national governments doing little to address the crisis. In response to government inaction and homophobia, a group of New York City activists founded ACT UP, a grassroots, queer-led protest movement to urge action, call for change, and stand in the gap as thousands of queer people died. Due to their dogged persistence, steadfast unity in diversity, and pointed demonstrations, ACT UP achieved lasting victories in medical treatment, health care access, and more. (author introduction)

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