ACT UP commemorates 25th Anniversary April 25 with Wall Street protest

ACT UP COMMEMORATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY
BY RETURNING TO WALL STREET
 FOR MASSIVE PROTEST

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25

To Be Joined by Occupy Wall Street For an End to Financial Crimes
Against People with AIDS and the 99%

To commemorate its 25th anniversary,
the AIDS activist group ACT UP will return to its roots and stage a massive demonstration and march on Wall Street — on Wednesday, April 25 — starting at 11 am at City Hall and ending on Wall Street. Hundreds of protestors are expected to converge for a daylong siege in Lower Manhattan.

ACT UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) will be joined by Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the organization making history this year and last with its public encampments and series of protests against the global
financial community. The groups are joining forces to pump up the volume on a growing nationwide outcry for a “Financial Speculation Tax” (Fi.S.T.) on Wall Street.

The groups are calling on local, state, and federal legislators to “give Wall Street the FiST,” which is needed to fill AIDS funding gaps and — once and for all — provide universal healthcare in the US. It’s time for effective healthcare to be made available to everyone — to the 99%, not just the 1%.

The Fi.S.T. does not target individual investors, and would not affect regular bank transactions. Instead, it would place a small tax — a mere fraction of one percent — on speculative trading by Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other large financial institutions.

HIV treatment saves lives — by preventing new infections and keeping those already infected from reaching end-stage AIDS. However, only 44% of people in need worldwide have access to the treatment they need.

More than 8 million people do not. In the United States today, 3,840 people who qualify for federal assistance to pay for HIV treatment are on waiting lists — or in other words, are at risk of dying from AIDS.

“The AIDS crisis is not over,” says veteran ACT UP New York member Ann Northrop. “But, we know it could be,” she adds. AIDS treatment — when combined with simple prevention interventions — is the key to breaking the back of the epidemic worldwide. In addition to saving lives, early HIV/AIDS treatment reduces the risk of transmission of HIV by 96%. And so, with sufficient funding for treatment and prevention, we can turn the tide on AIDS. Globally, HIV/AIDS has claimed over 30 million lives.

Both ACT UP and OWS suggest the revenue from a Financial Speculation Tax would be significant — potentially in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The revenue from this tax should be used to fund the end of the AIDS pandemic, i.e. to fill in US budget gaps in the fight against HIV/AIDS at home and abroad. It should be used to provide treatment, services and prevention to thousands of Americans and millions around the world. The groups also say the tax could help pay for universal healthcare in the US.

“We are organizing this historic united front to bring our message to governments and to Wall Street financiers who are sitting on the key to ending the AIDS epidemic,” according to Eric Sawyer, a founding member of ACT UP New York.

 “There is no excuse. We have the know-how to end AIDS. It is lack of funding and political will that keeps us
from reaching universal access to HIV treatment worldwide.”

Additional organizations are expected to join the demonstration in New
York City, including Housing Works, Health GAP, National Nurses
United, OWS Healthcare for the 99% Working Group, Visual AIDS, MIX
NYC, Le Petit Versailles, Queerocracy, Queering OWS and others.

For more info visit www.actupny.com or @actupny on Twitter.

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