Monday Night Meetings

One of the reasons ACT UP was founded was because health officials, government researchers, medical bureaucrats, doctors and pharmaceutical company executives were believed to be "AIDS experts" and held all the power over people living with AIDS. Here in the affected communities, our points-of-view were made invisible and our real-world knowledge about the changes that needed to be made to end the crisis, was ignored. Living with AIDS, as we all are in New York City, one of the epicenters of the AIDS pandemic in this country, we are the experts!

Further, because of the immensity of the task of ending the AIDS crisis, ACT UP felt there was a need to make every member a leader, rather than having a few members holding the power. That is why there is no president or Board of Directors in ACT UP.

It is no wonder then that ACT UP is run as openly and democratically as it is. ACT UP has no paid staff; everyone is a volunteer. The membership in attendance every week at Monday Night meetings, the floor, has the final say on all of the organizations business. Because of this, the meetings can run very long and become heated and emotional. They can also be tedious and frustrating. It can be extremely confusing and overwhelming for new members and even old members.

Just remember that we run things this way because we care about what you have to say. While we ask members to wait until their third meeting before voting, you have as much right to speak and to be heard as anyone else in the room. We are all in this together.

If you have something to say, raise your hand. When the facilitator calls upon you, stand and state your name before you speak.

Here's a look at how meetings work. . .

The Meeting Order

90 second statements announcing planning meetings, updates, and ACT UP activities.

Life Saving Information
Critical up-to-date medical information which may impact members' medical treatment decisions.

Actions and Zaps
A working group or individual presents an idea for an action, pertinent information, and a proposed budget. The floor can vote to endorse or reject the action. The sponsoring group will also request assistance from the general membership in making the action happen.

Reports on recent actions, reviews of effectiveness of these actions, and discussions of support of members who committed civil disobedience

Operational Proposals
Proposals for modifications to the internal workings of ACT UP.


A Few Terms you'll hear at Monday Night General Meetings

Point of Order
Used when someone thinks we are grossly disregarding rules of procedure, such as voting before there has been a chance for questions or discussion.

Point of Information
A question about information needed in order to take a vote.

Calling the Question
When called upon, someone can ask the group to end discussion and proceed to a vote. At the facilitator's discretion, this may be denied if views on both sides of the issue have not yet been addressed.

Friendly Amendment

Someone from the floor asks that the proposal be amended or changed in a specific way. This can be accepted or rejected by the person or group presenting the proposal to the floor.

The Floor
Everyone in attendance at the Monday Night general meeting; the supreme governing body of ACT UP

Meetings Managers
Elected every 6 months to set up the sound system, take minutes of the General Meeting, and write information on the chalk board.

Workspace Managers
Four managers are elected for six month terms to coordinate general administrative duties, open the Workspace, and order office supplies.

At Large Representatives
Four At Large Reps are elected every six months to give voice to the concerns of the general membership of ACT UP at Coordinating Committee meetings, greet new members at the beginning of each General Meeting, and facilitate new member orientation meetings.

Moderate Monday Night meetings using parliamentary procedures. Five facilitators are elected to four month terms.

The Coordinating Committee
The Coordinating Committee meets Sunday night at 6:30 at the Workspace. They compile and approve the agenda for the Monday Night meeting; any member can attend Coordinating Committee meetings; a representative of each committee has voting power on the Coordinating Committee and should attend all meetings of the Coordinating Committee.

The Literature Table
All literature for general distribution is placed on a table in the rear of the room. This includes the meeting agenda, a calendar of events for the coming week, press clips, and other information.

The Fundraising Table
The fundraising table is located in the rear of the room. Items for purchase include T-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, books, posters, buttons, postcards, and mugs. All proceeds go the support the work of ACT UP.

Paying Rent
We request you donate $2.00 for each meeting-more if you can, less if you can't. This money goes to the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, not ACT UP.

Speaking at the Meeting

Your participation during the meeting is actively encouraged. If you would like to speak, please raise your hand to be recognized by a facilitator. When called upon, please stand so members can see you if you are able to do so and state your name.

Identification of Members of City, State, and Federal Agencies
At the beginning of each meeting a facilitator will ask all members of the Police Department, the FBI, the CIA, and any other law enforcement or information gathering organization to identify themselves to the membership. Legally, all such agents must identify themselves to the organization and ACT UP wants them to know we are aware of their presence.

New Members Packet Index:


back to: DOCUMENTS