to Start an ACT UP Chapter
How do we start an ACT UP chapter?
Answer: JUST DO IT!
ACT UP chapters begin when a group of people in a city or region get together and form a group called ACT_UP/... (like ACT UP/New York, ACT UP/Philadelphis, ACT UP/Paris). Each chapter makes its own logo. Many use the standard one above and add their own locality name below.
Ways to start a chapter are to put an announcement in a community paper, wheatpaste announcements, or word of mouth that a chapter is forming. At the first meeting talk about what projects you want to work on, what kind of structure you want to use, etc. It is best if the meeting is in a public place that is easily accessible.
For examples of how ACT UP/NY is organized and useful direct action manuals, go to the DOCUMENTS section. Download and distribute these documents!
See also: Media Training Seminar
When you're sure that you really have a viable chapter, send a note back to us ACT UP email and we'll circulate your news amongst the other AIDS activists via our email lists.
Each ACT UP chapter operates autonomously. ACT UP/New York may be the first chapter, but it is not the "head" chapter.
While there is no means test, there are certain qualities that characterize an ACT UP chapter [using New York only as an example].
ACT UP is a democratic, open group. We have no paid positions and no "president" - just rotating, elected meeting facilitators, treasurers, etc. All financial decisions involving more than $100 dollars, the use of the ACT UP name or logo must be authorized by a majority vote of the membership at one of the open, publicly advertised Monday night general meetings. Sometimes this means meetings are fractitious, but a little drama is a good work-out! [to be noted: the powerful and noble activists from ACT UP/Paris have a slightly different organizational structure]
ACT UP is committed to direct action as a means of ending the AIDS crisis. There are many activities surrounding AIDS. ACT UP does not do all of them. We are not a service provider; we do not provide medical treatment to individuals. While we meet with government and health officials to advocate for people with HIV and AIDS, we differ from typical lobby groups by our use of direct action, which ranges from street demos to acts of civil disobedience. AIDS is a medical emergency, but it is foremost a political crisis.
We are a coalition of diverse individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. ACT UP is not a gay rights group. While the AIDS crisis is inextricably linked to homophobia (along with other modes of oppression) and a large number of our members come from the lesbian/gay/bi/trans communities, ACT_UP is about fighting AIDS. Often this works in conjunction with queer liberation, but our primary focus is the fight against AIDS.
Although all of the above--and even everything on the website--is far too little information, there is no substitute for the education gained in the process of taking DIRECT ACTION.
"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men [sic] who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."__ Frederick Douglass
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."
-- Margaret Mead, world famous anthropologist and dyke
ACT UP!_ Fight Back!_ Fight AIDS!
Further information can be found on other ACT UP web sites
_ACT UP/Atlanta___ NEW
--- Additional Contacts:
ACT UP NY www.actupny.org