aids coalition to unleash power

Act Up in Anger
David Handelman, Rolling Stone, Issue 573, 8 March 1990

A controversial group has become the catalyst for innovations in the way we fight AIDS

It was September 14th, 1989; more Americans had already died of AIDS-related causes than the 58,000 that had died in Vietnam. And, sneaking into the New York Stock Exchange, wearing suits and fake trader ID badges, carrying chains, handcuffs and foghorns, Peter Staley and six colleagues from ACT UP — the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power — were fighting a war too.…  More >

Five You Should Know: Organizing for Change

As we begin Women’s History Month, we are excited to highlight the efforts and the abilities of African American women. African American women have made tremendous contributions toward the freedom, equality and thriving culture of African American communities. However, these stories are often historically lost to us or overlooked within the American story.

The women here represent a continual pursuit of equality through organizing, led by African American women. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and join us in sharing #HiddenHerstory during the month of March. 

1. Hallie Quinn Brown

Photo: Photo from Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction, edited by Hallie Quinn Brown, 1926. 

Hallie Quinn Brown (1849-1949) helped organize the Colored Women’s League in Washington, D.C., one of the organizations that merged in 1896 to become the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). She served as president of the NACW, from 1920 to 1924. Brown is among many other notable founders of the NACW, to include Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells.

Brown also served as President of the Ohio State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs between 1905 and 1912. During her last year as president of the NACW, she spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Brown had a reputation as a powerful orator. In 1899, while serving as a U.S. representative, she spoke before the International Congress of Women meeting in London, UK on women’s suffrage and civil rights.

2. Madam C.J. Walker

Photo: From Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction, edited by Hallie Quinn Brown, 1926. 

Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) is widely known for her successful beauty and haircare business, produced by her Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. However, Walker’s life also includes a long history of activism and philanthropy toward racial equality and civil rights. During World War I, Walker was a leader in the Circle For Negro War Relief, in the effort to establish a training camp for black army officers. In 1917, she joined the executive committee of the New York chapter of the NAACP, which organized the Silent Protest Parade on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. More than 8,000 African Americans participated in protest of a riot in East Saint Louis that killed thirty-nine African Americans.

Walker was also a supporter of Marcus Garvey, donating to the mission of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She was joined by Garvey and others when she founded The International League for Darker People in 1919 in the U.S. The organization aimed to bring together African Americans with other non-European people to pursue shared goals at the Paris Peace Conference following World War I. In particular, the organization made connections between Asian and black communities and for solidarity within their liberation movements. Walker’s life of activism is a reflection of her desire for global equality.

3. Barbara Smith

Photo: Portrait of Barbara Smith.

In 1973, author and lesbian feminist Barbara Smith, with other delegates, attended the first regional meeting of the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) in 1973 in New York City. This meeting resulted in the founding of the Combahee River Collective. The Collective’s name was suggested by Smith, who owned the book, Harriet Tubman, Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Earl Conrad. The name commemorated an action at the Combahee River planned and led by Harriet Tubman on June 2, 1863, in the Port Royal region of South Carolina. The action freed more than 750 slaves and is the only military campaign in American history planned and led by a woman. The Combahee River Collective emphasized the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class oppression in the lives of African American women and other non-white women.

Smith also established the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in 1980, an activist feminist press that published several pamphlets and books. Many of these works became widely influential and adopted into many courses of study. Smith continued her work as a community organizer, when she was elected to the Albany, New York city council in 2005. She was an advocate for violence prevention, and educational opportunities for poor, minority and underserved people. Smith continues to be activist for economic, racial and social inequality.

4. Marsha P. Johnson

PhotoMarsha P. Johnson Black & white version of Andy Warhol Polaroid.

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992), a drag queen and gay liberation activist, is known as one of the first to fight back in the  Stonewall riots, a series of violent demonstrations among the LGBT against police raids. In the 1970s, Johnson and a friend, Sylvia Rivera, cofounded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organization that promoted the visibility of the gay community, particularly through gay liberation marches and other political actions. The organization also worked to provide food and clothing for young drag queens, trans women and other kids living in the streets in the Lower East Side of New York. In the 1980s, she continued her street activism as a, organizer and with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). 

5. Charlene Carruthers

Photo: Charlene Carruthers, Photo Courtesy of BYP100 Project.

Charlene Carruthers is a black queer feminist activist and organizer. In July 2013, Carruthers with 100 other black activist leaders from across the U.S. were assembled by the Black Youth Project in Chicago for a meeting. The meeting convened with the goal of building networks of organization for black youth activism across the country. However, it was the verdict of George Zimmerman regarding the death of Trayvon Martin, that inspired Carruthers and the other activists to form Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100). The group was created to organize and promote young black activism in resistance to structural forms of  oppression. BYP100 trains youth to be leaders, to empower a younger generation of black activist. 

anonymous asked:

Can you redesign your icon? The pink triangle is holocaust imagery

“By the end of the 1970s, the pink triangle was adopted as a symbol for gay rights protest. Some academics have linked the reclamation of the symbol with the publication, in the early 1970s, of gay concentration camp survivor Heinz Heger’s memoir, The Men with the Pink Triangle.

The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) adopted an inverted pink triangle along with the slogan “SILENCE = DEATH” as its logo shortly after its formation by six gay activists in New York City in 1987.”

Script from a text installation by the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP), displayed in the New Museum of Contemporary Art as part of “Let the Record Show…”, 1987.

FED UP FEST  is a three day, all ages, DIY music and workshop festival showcasing and celebrating queer and transgender voices in punk communities. We are a collectively run group that actively opposes racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, capitalism, and all other fucked up “isms” and “phobias” at macro and micro levels. FED UP FEST is inspired from the short lived direct action coalition FED UP QUEERS (FUQ) that existed in New York city from 1989-1990 that grew out of the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power.


By organizing FED UP FEST we hope to engage our communities in a dialogue that will work to confront and challenge the perpetuation of oppression and abuse in our scenes, and to help create stronger and more sustainable bonds between and across radical queer and punk communities. Due to underlying homophobic and transphobic tendencies, the presence of queer and trans people in punk scenes is so frequently a site of volatility. By solidifying our presence and voices through solidarity and with consistent radical frameworks that center marginalized voices we can help confront the oppressive attitudes that pervade our scenes on structural and personal levels. As a collective, we firmly believe that punk should be a site of resistance to shitty mainstream values. We hope that FED UP FEST creates a space of defiance, empowerment, pogoing and change.

CHICAGOQUEERCORE@GMAIL.COM

Peter Staley | ACT UP 

Peter Staley eagerly joined and helped lead the fiercest battle the gay community has ever fought, fighting for access to more and better drugs, fighting for society to pay attention to the thousands, and eventually millions, dying of AIDS.  Yet, even at the height of that battle he was focused on what would happen after the war.  Peter was a romantic; his approach to activism, once he was strong enough to leave ACT UP, was to take the opposition on a date, to win them over with his earnest smile, to speak in poetry and bring his audience to its feet.”

-Randy Potts
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FEBRUARY 17 - MARSHA P. JOHNSON

Trans activist and major leader during the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Along with friend and fellow activist Sylvia Rivera, Johnson co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to feed, clothe and find shelter for young drag queens and trans women living on the Christopher Street docks or the STAR house on the Lower East Side.

Johnson became a part of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and, in the 1980s, she acted as an organizer and marshall with the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT-UP). She famously posed for Andy Warhol’s 1975 series “Ladies and Gentlemen”. When asked what the “P” stands for in her name, Marsha consistently gave the response “Pay It No Mind”.

In July 1992, shortly after the New York Pride March, Johnson’s body was found floating in the Hudson River. The police ruled the death a suicide, but sources close to Johnson adamantly proclaimed that she was not suicidal and had been harassed earlier that day near the location where the body was found. The case was not re-opened as a possible homicide until November 2012.

A documentary about Johnson can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube. Take a moment to watch and/or listen to it today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjN9W2KstqE