“A brilliant spark that will fly through the air and set the vapors of our insurrectionary imaginations alight.”John Jordan, founder of Reclaim the Streets
Founded in 1987, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP) is an international non-partisan group dedicated to ending the AIDS crisis. ACT-UP utilizes direct action and devotes itself to political agitation around legislation and policy changes that can make a difference in the lives of AIDS-affected individuals. During its peak years, ACT-UP spent much of its time focused on drug availability and pricing, placing significant pressure on the FDA through visible protest and demonstration. These actions gained considerable media attention and contributed to a twenty percent reduction in price of the drug AZT. ACT-UP stunts have included chaining themselves to the VIP balcony of the New York Stock Exchange, shutting down the FDA, and storming of a CBS Evening News broadcast. The organization emphasizes the need for public education as well as policies to prohibit discrimination in areas like housing, insurance, treatment and employment. ACT-UP has seen a recent decline in membership, but chapters continue to meet and its creative protest tactics have had a lasting influence on subsequent protest movements.