ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS highlights the impact of art in AIDS activism and advocacy today by commissioning compelling short videos from six inspiring community organizations and collectives—ACT UP NY, Positive Women’s Network, Sero Project, The SPOT, Tacoma Action Collective, and VOCAL NY. The program represents a wide range of organizational strategies, from direct action to grassroots service providers to nation-wide movement building, while considering the role of creative practices in activist responses to the ongoing AIDS crisis.
ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS seeks to reflect the persisting urgencies of today’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by pointing to pressing and intersecting political concerns, including HIV criminalization, Big Pharma, homelessness, and the disproportionate effects of HIV on marginalized communities. At a moment of growing interest in the histories of AIDS activism, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS foregrounds contemporary engagements between activists, artists, and cultural workers on the front lines.
AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) NY (New York, NY) is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals, united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis. ACT UP was formed in 1987 in response to social neglect, government negligence and the complacency of the medical establishment during the 1980s. Soon it found itself needing to fight corporate greed, lack of solidarity and various forms of stigma and discrimination at home and abroad. ACT UP fights for: sustained investment in research for new medicines and treatments for HIV/AIDS and related co-infections; equitable access to prevention and care for HIV/AIDS and healthcare, in general; tackling the structural drivers of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, such as stigma, discrimination and poverty.
Positive Women’s Network – USA (PWN) is a national membership body of women living with HIV and allies that exists to strengthen the strategic power of all women living with HIV in the United States. Founded in 2008 by 28 diverse women leaders living with HIV, PWN-USA develops a leadership pipeline and policy agenda that applies a gender lens to the domestic HIV epidemic grounded in social justice and human rights. Every day, PWN-USA inspires, informs and mobilizes women living with HIV to advocate for changes that improve lives and uphold rights.
The Sero Project is a U.S.-based network of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice. Sero is particularly focused on ending the inappropriate use of one’s HIV status in criminal prosecutions of PLHIV, including for non-disclosure, potential or perceived HIV exposure or HIV transmission. With the Positive Women’s Network-USA, Sero produces the biennial HIV is Not a Crime training academy to support advocates mobilizing at the grassroots level for HIV criminalization reform.
Safe Place Over Time (The SPOT) (Jackson, MS) is dedicated to providing services and opportunities for wellness, empowerment, and leadership to young men in Jackson, Mississippi. The program aims to improve health outcomes and reduce new cases of HIV among African Americans who are disproportionately affected by the epidemic. The SPOT strives to be a safe place for young men to openly discuss issues and challenges and to work to improve their quality of life and to promote the concept of self-worth. The SPOT is housed in the Jackson Medical Mall, a former shopping mall that now provides healthcare for the underserved and promotes economic and community development.
Tacoma Action Collective (Tacoma, WA) is a partnership of Black community organizers working in grassroots action and education in Washington State. TAC works to to eliminate systemic oppression and structural violence while empowering the people to build autonomous communities rooted in equity and justice. In 2015, the collective staged a die-in at the Tacoma Art Museum in response to the white-washing of the exhibition Art, AIDS, America.
VOCAL (Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders) (New York, NY) is a statewide grassroots membership organization that builds power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, the drug war, homelessness, and mass incarceration in order to create healthy and just communities. VOCAL accomplishes this through community organizing, leadership development, public education, direct services, participatory research and direct action.