“The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA: Anti-AIDS Activism in Los Angeles from the 1980s to the 2000s” by Benita Roth— A History

Roth, Benita. “The Life and Death of ACT UP/LA: Anti-AIDS Activism in Los Angeles from the 1980s to the 2000s”, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

A History

Amos Lassen

ACT UP/LA was part of the militant anti-AIDS movement of the 80s and 90s that went against the neglect of the AIDS epidemic, engaging in multi-targeted protest in Los Angeles and nationally. The members faced the government and brought about tremendous change at a time that our community was dying. medical, and institutional. We see the appeal of direct action anti-AIDS activism for people across the United States. The group argued about “the need to understand how the politics of place affect organizing, and how the particular features of the Los Angeles cityscape shaped possibilities for activists.” Through a feminist perspective we see “social inequalities as mutually reinforcing and interdependent, to examine the interaction of activists and the outcomes of their actions.” The united us in a struggle against AIDS and homophobia, and gain a voice in our own healthcare.

This is a “dense and meticulously annotated” history of an organization that gained the power that was necessary to bring about change. Writer Betina Roth shows us that members of ACT UP/LA were often scared and frightened to participate in actions but did so anyway because lives were at stake and no one really seemed to care.

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