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The Women of ACT UP/NY: Fight Back! Fight AIDS!

April 1, 2014

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Join us on Tuesday, April 1st to hear from veteran ACT UP women activists about the tactics and strategies used during the early years, the demonstration against Cosmopolitan magazine, the Day of Desperation actions, the four-year campaign to change the definition of AIDS, litigation pursued, the fight for insurance benefits, the power of video activism, and their experiences in ACT UP.

The following women from the historic AIDS advocacy group ACT UP will share their experience during this final event of the Why We Fight exhibition.


Terri L. Wilder is the Director of HIV/AIDS Education and Training at the Spencer Cox Center for Health and works closely with the Prevention of HIV Action Group (PHAG) of ACT UP/NY.  She has been working and volunteering in the HIV community since 1989.


Sarah Schulman is a writer and co-director of the ACT UP Oral History Project


Joan P. Gibbs is a longtime activist with several groups, including ACT-UP. She lives and works in Brooklyn where she is the General Counsel for the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

Maxine Wolfe was a founder of the ACT UP NY Women’s Caucus and the National ACT UP Women’s Committee.  She was also a founder of the Lesbian Avengers and the NYC Dyke March, which she continues to help organize.  She is a Coordinator of the Lesbian Herstory Archives and Professor Emerita in the Psychology Dept. of the CUNY Graduate School.

Heidi Dorow likes to ride her bike and lives in Brooklyn.

Karin Timour has been writing and teaching about health insurance and entitlements for people with HIV for twenty-three years. She is also a founding member of the insurance and healthcare access committee of ACT UP/NY.

Terry McGovern, Esq. founded the HIV Law Project in 1989 and was lead counsel on litigation challenging the Federal government’s use of an overly restrictive AIDS definition which discriminated against women and low income persons as the basis for disbursing HIV related disability benefits.  She also successfully challenged the FDA guideline excluding women of childbearing potential from early clinical trials. She was a Senior Program Officer in the Gender Rights and Equality Unit at the Ford Foundation for 6 years and is now Professor of Population and Family Health-CUMC at Columbia University School of Public Health where she co-directs the Health and Human Rights Program.

Patricia Navarro is the mother of ACT UP NY member Ray Navarro, who died of AIDS complications in November 1990. During the eight months that she was in New York while her son was ill, she joined ACT UP NY and the PWAC Mother’s Support Group.  After returning to her home in Simi Valley California, she became an advocate for prevention education and other services in the HIV/AIDS community.  For more information about Patricia, please go to:

Jean Carlomusto's documentaries and interactive installations have been exhibited internationally in festivals, museums and on television.  She began documenting the AIDS crisis in 1986 as a volunteer for Gay Men’s Health Crisis and continued this work with ACT UP.  Her current work deals with the early days of the AIDS crisis as part of a continuim in an ongoing history of AIDS activism.




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Maxine Wolfe's name spelled wrong on the video

Hi, In the actual video, when Maxine Wolfe begins to speak you have her name spelled wrong. At 14:48 when Maxine begins to speak and her name is put on the screen you wrote Maxine Wolf,  that is incorrect.  Her name is Maxine Wolfe, with an "e" at the end.  Please fix the video and correct her name so that when people view the video now and in the future her name will be spelled correctly. Thank you.

Hi Amy, thank you for

Hi Amy, thank you for catching the error.  We're working on revising the video and will re-upload a corrected version soon.