"Lighten up people. Fighting for our lives is more important than bruised egos." -- Hal Bramson, 1932-1994

The founding of ACT UP

The following is excerpted from an article in the Gay In West Australia web pages, and was written by Gavin McGuren:

On 10 March 1987, gay author Larry Kramer gave a speech in New York City that led two days later to the formation of ACT UP - the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. In his speech Kramer denounced what he saw as the political impotence of an existing organisation, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), formed to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and to rally support for those already living with the virus.

ACT UP quickly established itself as a direct action group, and on 24 March, 250 members descended on Wall Street to disrupt the business of the day in protest over exorbitant prices for the new antiviral drug AZT. ACT UP members occupied the stock exchange floor and managed to delay the famous opening bell. Seventeen people were arrested and ACT UP's campaign of civil disobedience took its first step to international notoriety.

Trying to keep ACT UP nonpartisan

From the book "Imagine hope: AIDS and gay identity," by Simon Watney, Routledge, 2000. Hal is mentioned in a footnote on p. 103.

"Indeed, as early as the spring of 1988, some activists were asking whether ACT UP had been created to oppose the Reagan administration's foreign policies in Central America.[41]"

41. For example, Hal Bramson, 'A plea for common sense,' broadside distributed at ACT UP meeting, New York, Spring 1988.

On taking responsibility

From an interview conducted by Sarah Schulman on November 21, 2006, with Bill Dobbs, editor of Tell It To ACT UP [TITA], the unofficial ACT UP newsletter. -- ACT UP Oral History Project, A PROGRAM OF MIX: THE NEW YORK LESBIAN & GAY EXPERIMENTAL FILM FESTIVAL

"I was saddened by a few recent anonymous items in TITA, which were highly personal, nasty, and mean spirited attacks onto others. So one of our many courageous members allegedly didn't sufficiently acknowledge a compliment. Big Deal. We aren't here for group therapy. Lighten up people. Fighting for our lives is more important than bruised egos." -- Hal Bramson