In 1987, The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP) was formed in New York City in response to government inaction during the AIDS Crisis. Numerous ACT-UP chapters were established across the nation, including one in Kansas City, founded in September 1988 by Jon Barnett and David Weeda. ACT-UP/KC organized locally to aid and fight for visibility for those living with HIV/AIDS. Much like other chapters, ACT-UP/KC employed acts of civil disobedience during demonstrations. The group also picketed and boycotted businesses that discriminated against members of the LGBTQ community.
Local activists wore these buttons to advertise slogans and activities associated with ACT-UP/KC. A few refer to Fred Phelps, the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, who was notorious for protesting the funerals of people who died from AIDS. The buttons also showcase reappropriated images like the pink triangle, the mark Nazis gave to gay men during the Holocaust, as symbols of power for the LGBTQ community. The buttons represent LGBTQ Missourians’ fight for civil rights and their efforts in advocating for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Categories: Civil Rights, Health, Science & Technology, Politics & Government
Contributing Institution: Kansas City Public Library
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Region: Kansas City Metro