Poster of the Week – Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of ACT UP
ACT UP/NY, Gran Fury
The Silence = Death Project
New York, New York
March 24, 2012 marks 25 years since the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) held its first direct action on Wall Street to demand greater access to HIV treatment. ACT UP was formed by a coalition of activists outraged over the U.S. government’s mismanagement of the AIDS crisis.
ACT UP quickly became a national and world-wide movement, with one of its most effective chapters in Los Angeles. ACT UP/LA stopped the Rose Parade. They shouted down elected officials. They negotiated the building of an AIDS Ward in a public health system that left people with AIDS suffering in hallways due to lack of a dedicated place for them.
25 Years ago, ACT UP shut down Wall Street. To commemorate their original action on the world's financial center, ACT UP will stage an action, in cooperation with Occupy Wall Street, on Wednesday, April 25. “ACT UP + Occupy To End The AIDS Crisis” will demand a “Robin Hood” tax on financial transactions to increase HIV/AIDS funding.
CSPG’s Poster of the Week was designed by ACT UP/NY, Gran Fury, and The Silence = Death Project. Gran Fury was a collective of AIDS activists, born out of ACT UP/NY, who provoked direct action to end the AIDS crisis. They chose the name 'Gran Fury' after the brand of Plymouth automobile used as a squad car by the New York City police department. They manipulated sophisticated advertising strategies in print and video to render complex issues understandable, and to reach an audience not often addressed by governmental and corporate media. They also retaliated against government and social institutions that made those living with AIDS invisible.
The pink triangle was established as a pro-gay symbol by activists in the United States during the 1970s. Its use originated in World War II, when known homosexuals in Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear inverted pink triangle badges as identifiers, much in the same manner that Jews were forced to wear the yellow Star of David. Wearers of the pink triangle were considered at the bottom of the camp social system and subjected to particularly severe maltreatment and degradation. Thus, the appropriation of the symbol of the pink triangle, usually turned upright rather than inverted, was a conscious attempt to transform a symbol of humiliation into one of solidarity and resistance. By the outset of the AIDS epidemic, it was well-entrenched as a symbol of gay pride and liberation.