ACT UP At 30: Reinvigorated For Trump Fight

Veteran activists who helped make ACT UP and its affiliates a potent force in the fight against AIDS are now helping train activists opposed to the policies of the Trump administration.
Members of ACT UP hold up signs and placards during the Gay and Lesbian Pride march in New York City, June 26, 1988. Source: The New York Historical Society

Donald Trump's presidency is less than three months old, but in that time there have been massive turnouts for the Women's March and for Tax Day protests in cities across the country demanding that Trump release his returns. This coming Saturday, on Earth Day, scores of March for Science protests are expected.

Helping to guide these actions are veteran activists with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power — better known as ACT UP. Thirty years after the coalition's founding, some seasoned activists are dusting off their bullhorns and updating their direct-action playbooks to tap into the new wave of activism energized by opposition to Trump's policies.

Founded in 1987, ACT UP never settled for trying to push change quietly or behind the scenes.

It was loud, demanding and in-your-face with telegenic direct action, a protest that got serious attention and, occasionally, laughs.

Like the time members engulfed the suburban Virginia home of their nemesis, the late Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, in a giant canvas condom that

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