AIDS Activist Group ACT UP Will Celebrate 25th Anniversary By Occupying Wall Street Tomorrow


In the weeks leading up to its highly anticipated May Day, Occupy Wall Street has made some invaluable friends. The Nation’s Allison Kilkenny reports that renowned AIDS activist group AIDS Coalition to Unleash The Power (ACT UP), along with Occupy, will be laying a “daylong siege in Lower Manhattan” tomorrow, marching from City Hall at 11 a.m. and working their way down to the financial district. For ACT UP’s 25th anniversary, it’s a coalition with historic resonance.

Since 1987, ACT UP has been making its voice known through innovative, civilly disobedient tactics. Protesting the unaffordable price of AZT drugs, ACT UP activists have staged numerous “die-ins,” invaded the New York Stock Exchange, and handed out condoms and pamphlets on safe sex to teens in the middle of a St. Patrick’s Cathedral mass. For 25 years, they have been protesting the corporate greed of the pharmaceutical industry, in many ways setting a precedent for the demonstrations that began on Wall Street in September of 2011.

“It’s very meaningful for the LGBT activists that ACT UP and Occupy intermingle,” Brandon Cuicchi, a member of ACT UP and the Queer Occupy Wall Street working group, told The Nation. “In the 80s and 90s, ACT UP was instrumental in changing the way this nation and our government talk about HIV/AIDS. In the past year, Occupy has been instrumental in changing how Americans feel about economic inequality.”

Together, ACT UP and OWS will be calling for a Financial Speculation Tax (or FiST) on the speculative trading of Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other financial institutions. The activists argue that the revenue from such a tax could close the gaps in badly needed AIDS program funding.

In addition to ACT UP, organizations like Housing Works, Health GAP, National Nurses United, OWS Healthcare for the 99% Working Group, Visual AIDS, MIX NYC, Le Petit Versailles, Queering OWS and Queerocracy will also be joining the march. For those of you who want to follow along on Twitter, you can use #AIDS #ACTUP #OWS #OccupyAIDS #OccupyWallSt #TaxWallSt #EndAIDS #April25 #ActUp25 #A25 to stay tuned in tomorrow.

[via The Nation]


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