The ACT UP Oral History Project is a collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York. The project is coordinated by Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman, with camera work by James Wentzy (in New York) and (on the West Coast) S. Leo Chiang and Tracy Wares.
The purpose of this project is to present comprehensive, complex, human,
collective, and individual pictures of the people who have made up ACT UP/New York.
These men and women of all races and classes have transformed entrenched cultural
ideas about homosexuality, sexuality, illness, health care, civil rights, art, media,
and the rights of patients. They have achieved concrete changes in medical and scientific
research, insurance, law, health care delivery, graphic design, and introduced new and
effective methods for political organizing. These interviews reveal what has motivated
them to action and how they have organized complex endeavors. We hope that this
information will de-mystify the process of making social change, remind us that change
can be made, and help us understand how to do it. (ACT UP continues to fight to end the
AIDS epidemic. For more information on ACT UP's current activities, see their
A transcript of each interview is available in full in PDF format, through
free download via this website. You can also see streaming video clips of
many of the interviews. Just click on Interviews. Unedited tapes of the
interviews can be viewed at the San Francisco Main Library and the New York
Public Library (5th Avenue and 42nd Street). For further information about
the project, click on Contact or to purchase video copies, please click on
This project is a program of MIXthe New York Lesbian and Gay Experimental
Film/Video Festival and is funded by a major grant from the Ford Foundation
and by grants from the Gesso Foundation, the Gill Foundation, the Jessie
Smith Noyes Foundation and the Phil Zwickler Memorial & Charitable Trust.
The project has also been supported by public funds from the New York State
Council on the Arts. We are also grateful for the generous donation from our
friend Philip Willkie.
By the end of 2008, we will have completed 100 interviews. We are preserving the legacy of ACT UP, while also revealing the complexity and diversity of the organization and the immense ingenuity and talent that made it possible for ACT UP to change the face of AIDS in America. We have been deeply gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response from the community, but we still have over 100 people waiting to be interviewed. In order to do those interviews, we need your help. Your donation will help pay for videotape, transcriptions, adding additional video clips to the website and continued donations to the libraries. In addition, we are looking for significant help from individual donors and foundations and would be happy to talk to anyone with ideas.
Please support the Project by making a donation now. Just click on the button that says "Make a Donation" and follow the instructions. Your donation will go through our fiscal sponsor MIX: The New York Lesbian & Gay Experimental Film Festival, which is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, so it is fully tax deductible and can be charged to your credit card or paid through your PayPal account. Thank you so much for your help and support.
The ACTUP Oral History Project is now on Facebook and Twitter! Click on the
icons to link to our Facebook page and follow our tweets.
"Katrina Haslip," I'm You, You're Me (Debra Levine and Catherine [Saalfield]
"Die-In," Seize Control of the FDA (Gregg Bordowitz and Jean Carlomusto) --
"Living with AIDS 2 years 2 months," Testing the Limits (Testing the Limits) --
"If I Die...," Picture of David Wojnarowicz by Bill Dobbs --
"White House," Target Bush (James Wentzy) --
"One AIDS Death..." James Wentzy, --
"ACT Upers joining arms," Target City Hall (DIVA TV) --
"Women behind ACT UP sign," Doctors, Liars and Women (Jean Carlomusto and
Maria Maggenti) --
"Where's Your Rage...," Stonewall 25 (DIVA TV - James Wentzy) --
"Robert Garcia" DIVA TV --
"Know Your Scumbags," Like A Prayer (DIVA TV) --
"Cop in shorts," Acting Up for Prisoners (Eric Slade and Mic Sweney) --
"In the Tradition of Stonewall" James Wentzy.