ACT UP Philadelphia members have been dubbed "Warriors" in the cover story of this week's City Paper. Go pick it up! Or read it online.
Some of our favorite parts:
"ACT UP isn't just another advocacy group: They are the A-Team of AIDS activism, a band of crack commandos always ready to parachute in, their rhetorical guns blazing. Fail to listen and suffer the consequences: They've been known to swarm the mayor's home to demand housing for people with AIDS, take over the Capitol Rotunda to press Congress to lift a federal ban on funding syringe exchanges, and shut down the Food and Drug Administration in protest of slow approval times for AIDS drugs."
And some more we like:
"Those remaining AIDS activists began to shift their focus to policy on the global AIDS epidemic, or began working for the government, trying to change the system from within. ACT UP Philly, though, plotted a different course.
"Other chapters were dwindling or dying because white men were leaving," says longtime member Paul Davis. "But we decided to be aggressive about putting race and poverty at the core of every campaign, to be really up-front about who AIDS was now affecting."
Though the face of AIDS had changed, he says, one truth remained: "Nothing has ever been given to people with AIDS. All we've ever gotten, we've fought for."
And finally, some more good stuff:
The group understands that AIDS hasn't gone away but has instead been moving to new populations: poor folks, the homeless, drug users. The disease has seen a pronounced increase in black communities, as well: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-Americans make up just 14 percent of the U.S. population but 50 percent of all diagnosed HIV cases. That's up by 4 percent since 2009. Black females, meanwhile, are 19 times more likely to contract HIV than whites, while black men are eight times more likely. More and more, the virus is attacking very specific, often impoverished neighborhoods such as Germantown and Southwest Philadelphia.
So ACT UP Philly began to lobby for issues that hadn't previously been part of AIDS activism: for more housing for people with AIDS, for people in shelters to be able to control their own AIDS medication. And they began recruiting new members in unexpected places, like halfway houses, shelters and jails.
But read the whole article. It makes ACT UP Philly look amazing! But we are amazing. Surprised?