Today In Gay History – March 24, 1987: ACT UP Stages Its First Major Protest In NYC , Seventeen Arrested – Video

March 24, 1987 – ACT UP stages its first major demonstration on Wall Street in New York City.

Outraged by the government’s mismanagement of the AIDS crisis, LGBT and straight allies unite to form the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. ACT UP

ACT UP’s first demonstration takes place three weeks later on March 24th, 1987 on Wall Street, the heart of the  the financial center in NYC, to protest the profiteering of pharmaceutical companies (especially Burroughs Wellcome, manufacturer of AZT). Over 250 people participated in the protest and seventeen were arrested.

ACT UP’s flyer for the event listed its demands:

 

NO MORE BUSINESS AS USUAL!

Come to Wall Street in front of Trinity Church at 7AM Tuesday March 24 for a

MASSIVE AIDS DEMONSTRATION

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

The first few minutes of the clip below from Fight Back Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP is some of the only remaining footage of the protest.

 

Fight Back Fight AIDS: 15 Years of ACT UP clip from Frameline on Vimeo.
 

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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