March 24, 1987
ACT UP demonstrates
for first time
On this day in Gay History, ACT UP staged its first major demonstration demanding the establishment acknowledge the AIDS crisis and do something about it. On March 24, 1987, 250 ACT UP members demonstrated at Wall Street and Broadway to demand greater access to experimental AIDS drugs and for a coordinated national policy to fight the disease. An Op/Ed article by Larry Kramer published in the NY Times the previous day described some of the issues ACT UP was concerned with. Seventeen ACT UP members were arrested during this street theatre form of civil disobedience.
This notice had been posted all over the GLBT neighborhoods of New York:
NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL!
Come to Wall Street in front of Trinity Church
at 7AM Tuesday March 24 for a
To demand the following
1. Immediate release by the Federal Food & Drug Administration of drugs that might help save our lives.
These drugs include: Ribavirin (ICN Pharmaceuticals); Ampligen (HMR Research Co.); Glucan (Tulane University School of Medicine); DTC (Merieux); DDC (Hoffman-LaRoche); AS 101 (National Patent Development Corp.); MTP-PE (Ciba-Geigy); AL 721 (Praxis Pharmaceuticals).
2. Immediate abolishment of cruel double-blind studies wherein some get the new drugs and some don't.
3. Immediate release of these drugs to everyone with AIDS or ARC.
4. Immediate availability of these drugs at affordable prices. Curb your greed!
5. Immediate massive public education to stop the spread of AIDS.
6. Immediate policy to prohibit discrimination in AIDS treatment, insurance, employment, housing.
7. Immediate establishment of a coordinated, comprehensive, and compassionate national policy on AIDS.
President Reagan, nobody is in charge!
AIDS IS THE BIGGEST KILLER IN NEW YORK CITY
OF YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN.
Tell your friends. Spread the word. Come protest together.
7 AM ... March 24 ... You must be on time!
AIDS IS EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS NOW.
The AIDS Network is an ad hoc and broad-based community of AIDS-related organizations and individuals.
THE NEXT YEAR, on March 24, 1988, ACT UP
returned to Wall Street for a larger demonstration in which over 100 people were arrested.
This activism, modeled on Ghandi and MLK’s Soulforce principles, did much to direct much needed popular and government attention, and eventually action to making HIV treatments more widely available and earlier.