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What is the Act Up?

AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) is an international, grassroots political group working to end the AIDS pandemic. The group works to improve the lives of people with AIDS through direct action, medical research, treatment and advocacy, and working to change legislation and public policies.ACT UP was formed in March 1987 at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York City. Larry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series, and his well-attended speech focused on action to fight AIDS. Kramer spoke out against the current state of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), which he perceived as politically impotent. Kramer had co-founded the GMHC but had resigned from its board of directors in 1983. According to Douglas Crimp, Kramer posed a question to the audience: "Do we want to start a new organization devoted to political action?" The answer was "a resounding yes". Approximately 300 people met two days later to form ACT UP.At the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, in October 1987, ACT UP New York made their debut on the national stage, as an active and visible presence in both the march, the main rally, and at the civil disobedience at the United States Supreme Court Building the following day. Inspired by this new approach to radical, direct action, other participants in these events returned home to multiple cities and formed local ACT UP chapters in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Rhode Island, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and other locations, first around the United States, and eventually internationally...

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