Thursday, May 19, 2016

ACT UP Reunions Blossom in SF Bay Area 

One of my proudest life-accomplishments is assisting in the founding of ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, back in New York City during the plague years.

I had been acting up on my own and also had the good fortune to be mentored by the late Marty Robinson during our time in the Lavender Hill Mob, prior to Larry Kramer's speech that launched the group that changed the world.

 In recent months, I've had impromptu reunions with long-term survivors around the San Francisco Bay Area and now share with you pics of me with my friends.

Whenever I run into such pals, I get a feeling of meeting up with old war veterans who witnessed and lived through a terrible time with a lot of unnecessary deaths, but try to think positively about the tremendous great work we accomplished in the 1980s, 1990s and up to today either with ACT UP/NYC, which is still active, or just being alive and thriving.

Top left photo shows Rick Solomon of ACT UP/Golden Gate and I at the new BAMPFA facility in Berkeley. Top right, is Dean Ouellette wearing his gardening clothes on Market Street in the Castro this week. Bottom left is with Alan Shaw with me at Rainbow Grocery and bottom right is from November when I ran into G'Dali Braverman and his mom on UC Berkeley campus.

The last three boys were active with the NYC chapter. AIDS sure as hell isn't over so, let's all act up and fight back the best way we can today!

1 comment:

Stephen R. Stapleton said...

Mike, I didn't have any idea you were one of the founders of ACT-UP. I attended meetings of the SF chapter when it started, but the endless discussions to achieve consensus eventually drove me away. As a practicing Quaker, I understand the need for consensus, but, unlike Quakers, no one was ever willing to stand aside and let things move forward. I don't know how you ever overcame this problem in New York to achieve all the things you did or maybe you all just had vastly more patience than I did.

Anyway, Kudos! You should be most proud of that history. Thank you from all of us who benefited. Hope to see you at the Parade this year.