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    HomeNewsCity of West Hollywood Celebrates ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary

    City of West Hollywood Celebrates ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary

    The City of West Hollywood hosted the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) LA’s 35th anniversary with a tribute event at Plummer Park’s Great Hall/Long Hall, on Saturday, December 2, 2023. The event also paid tribute to the memories of ACT UP LA activists Mary Lucey and Nancy Jean MacNeil, who died in early 2023 and raised awareness of ACT UP LA’s history surrounding World AIDS Day by highlighting ACT UP LA’s decade of brave and deeply influential HIV/AIDS activism. And it all originated in West Hollywood.

    West Hollywood council members Lauren Meister and Chelsea Byers attended the event, which turned out a packed house paying tribute and celebrating 35 years of AIDS activism following World AIDS Day the previous day. Community members were also joined by City Staff, City Commissioners and Board Members.

    ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES
    ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

    Photos by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES (click to enlarge).

    ACT UP is a diverse, nonpartisan group of individuals, united in anger, and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. ACT UP was founded in 1987 in response to the Reagan administration’s blatant refusal to acknowledge the growing AIDS crisis. In December 1987, ACT UP Los Angeles became one of the first chapters established in the world. Regularly meeting at Plummer Park in West Hollywood, ACT UP LA stood out from other chapters with its focus on compassionate release for prisoners with AIDS, fight for clean needle exchange, and taking a national leadership role in the ACT UP Network Coalition for Universal Healthcare.

    ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

    Mary Lucey and Nancy Jean MacNeil were together for more than 30 years. They eventually married when it became legal to do so. Lucey and MacNeil, along with fellow AIDS activists Jordan Peimer, Helene Schpak, and Judy Ornelas Sisneros, launched the ACT UP LA Oral History Project on World AIDS Day 2021 with the goal of documenting HIV activism in the Los Angeles area from 1987 to 1997, with a notable focus on the work of ACT UP LA.

    ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

    Mary Lucey and Nancy Jean MacNeil both joined ACT UP LA after they attended the first Women’s Caucus meeting in June 1990. Lucey was among the first HIV-positive women in Los Angeles to be out about her status. Fueled by a sense of outrage at AIDSphobia, she fought for several years in ACT UP to expand the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s definition of AIDS to include women’s opportunistic infections and for health care for incarcerated women with AIDS. MacNeil became the founding Executive Director of Women Alive, an organization by and for HIV-positive women with a membership of more than 500 people. She established a treatment-focused newsletter and the first national women’s AIDS hotline.

    ACT UP LA 35th Anniversary in West Hollywood – Photo by Catherine Eng for WEHO TIMES

    The ACT UP LA Oral History Project is committed to giving a voice to the activists who constructed regional and national history during the AIDS pandemic. Focused on the lifespan of ACT UP LA from 1987-1997, the intent of this project is to capture the experiences of those individuals whose participation in ACT UP LA led to successes in the community that saved lives, changed the way society thought about people with AIDS, and challenged and changed the institutional biases that allowed the AIDS crisis to explode to such a devastating level.

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    Paulo Murillo
    Paulo Murillohttps://wehotimes.com
    Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, which include the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, where he covered breaking news and local events in West Hollywood. He can be reached at [email protected]

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    Bill and Jay
    Bill and Jay
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    2 months ago

    “United in anger”, but not us, at the time, we were too busy loving, only cure to hiv at that time or even now. Now, United in Love. Happy ending. 40+ years. Any others out there?

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