ACT UP GLOSSARY
The following is a list of terms commonly used at ACT UP meetings. We hope it will help you follow the sometimes jargon-laden debates at the meetings.
Action: a demonstration or protest usual taking more than a week to organize and implement.
Affinity group: a group of people organized around a single intent, tactic, or focus for the purpose of executing specialized sub-actions during actions or demonstrations.
Agenda: the order of the issues, actions in development, proposals, etc. that are to be discussed at a Monday night general membership meeting.
Announcement: at Monday night meetings, a 90 second statement announcing planning meetings, updates, and upcoming ACT UP activities.
Back Table: (the literature table) information for general distribution; anyone may place
literature on the table at the back of the room.
CBO: Community Based Organization
CD: Civil Disobedience. Involves breaking the law to draw attention to a larger injustice. People in ACT UP have frequently used this tactic with success to draw attention to AIDS issues.
Call to Question: a statement, which if seconded, ends discussion of a proposal and moves the floor to a vote to end discussion; commonly misstated as "call the question." One must be recognized by the facilitator to call to question.
Caucus: a group defined by a common agenda or a shared community or characteristic. Caucuses are self-defined and may be open to the full membership or closed except to those who share a defining qualification.
Contact Sheet: a list of names and phone numbers enabling a member to get in contact with committees, caucuses, working groups, etc. Also a calendar of the upcoming weeks ACT UP schedule of events.
Committee: a group of 2 or more ACT UP members with a specified interest that is open to all members of ACT UP. Creation of a committee must be approved by the Floor of ACT UP. All committees should send a voting representative to the Coordinating Committee.
The Center: The Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, located at 208 West 13th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue). House numerous ACT UP group meetings. Telephone 212 620-7310.
Coordinating Committee: Approves written material from committees requesting the use of ACT UP's name or logo, sets the agenda for the Monday night meeting, and coordinates activities within ACT UP.
Crosstalk: a dialog between two or more people that occurs when the floor should be addressed (all discussion should be addressed to the floor).
Direct Action: Confronting in numerous manners a specific person or group of people for the purpose of change.
DIVA TV: Damned Interfering Video Activists. documents ACT UP actions and activities on videotape and film.
Facilitators: People elected by the Floor to guide and run the general meetings on Monday night.
The Floor: everyone in attendance at a general meeting; the supreme governing body of ACT UP.
Friendly Amendment: A suggested change to a proposal offered during discussion by the Floor which can either be accepted or rejected by the person or group bringing the proposal to the Floor.
IVDU: Intravenous drug user or people who use injection drugs.
IDU: Injection drug user.
Heterosexism: The attitude that heterosexuality is the only correct orientation; that lesbians and gay men, homosexuals, bisexuals and polygenders are not entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals. Frequently used, albeit incorrectly, as a synonym for homophobia.
Homophobia: A psychological phenomenon of fear, hatred, and self-loathing of homosexual tendencies projected upon a person or group of people; bigotry against gay men and lesbians.
Legal Picket: Protesters must keep moving during a demonstration to remain legally expressing their right to free speech. Blocking sidewalks and other areas is an arrestable offense; a "legal picket space" is often imposed by the police.
Marshal(s): A person who maintains and physically is the boundary between demonstrators and the general public or police; tries to keep the demonstration safe through diffusing potential conflicts.
Member: A person who attends an ACT UP meeting or action; you may contribute to discussions, but are asked to refrain from voting until your third meeting so as to familiarize yourself with ACT UP process.
Monday night meeting: the general weekly membership meetings of ACT UP that are usually scheduled for Mondays.
Misogyny: The hatred and oppression of women; sexism.
Needle Exchange: A still illegal exchange of clean needles for dirty needles in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV among injection drug users by sharing needles. Sharing needles is the result of lack of access to clean needles.
Operational Proposal: A request to the floor for operating funds for a specific ACT UP project, piece of equipment, or service.
Out of Order: A statement declaring that process has not been followed and the violator must yield the floor.
Outreach: The act of getting information about ACT UP, AIDS, or AIDS activism to people who do not have this information. Also a committee of ACT UP established for this purpose.
PWA: (Person or People with AIDS); a term preferred to "AIDS victim."
People of Color: (or Person of Color) anyone who does not self-identify as "white," (European-American).
Point of Information: A request for information, usually a question, the answer to which is critical to a member's voting decision.
Point of Order: A statement clarifying the rules of order followed by ACT UP (loosely based on Robert's Rules of Order).
PC: Politically Correct.
Process Queen: A person who insists on absolutely perfect adherence to the dictates of process.
Pumpkin Runner: ACT UP members who circulate the plastic Halloween jack-o-lanterns used for the collection of rent at the general meeting.
Rent: The amount of money it costs to rent the meeting space being used at the time; the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center asks a contribution of $2.00 from all persons using the Center's facilities. You may pay less if you cannot afford the amount requested, and more if you can.
Rent Pumpkins: The orange plastic Halloween jack-o-lanterns used to collect rent at the Monday night meeting of the general membership.
Tabling: 1) To temporarily withdraw a proposal from consideration for a vote, enabling the floor to think about the issue until the next meeting. 2) Setting up literature and/or merchandise tables for ACT UP in public places other than a Monday night meeting.
Wheat pasting: the affixing of flyers and poster to surfaces out on the street; an illegal activity usually done at night in groups of three or more.
Working Group: A group of people planning an action or a series of actions.
Working Document: ACT UP's written constitution and by-laws.
Works: a slang term for both the needle and syringe used by intravenous drug users.
Workspace: the now former "office" of ACT UP, located at 135 West 29th Street, 10th Floor.
Zap: An action that occurs within the coming week, in the form of phone calls, faxes, letters/postcards, uninvited office visits, and demonstrations.
New Members Packet Index:
back to: DOCUMENTS