Direct Action

Suggestions for Direct Action

In order to help you successfully coordinate direct action against inaction and failure to confront the realities of the AIDS crisis, here is a list of suggestions for actions that you can do in your community. Remember, direct action can take on many forms. Simply talking about AIDS-related issues with friends, family, and coworkers is a form of direct action. So is taking over an elected official's office in order to demand some sort of a response to the AIDS crisis. So is writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or holding a teach-in about AIDS and AIDS-related issues at a local high school. AIDS activism is not only about marching in the streets and demonstrating.

With that in mind, here's a list of ideas for you to use and tailor the issues that are most pressing to your organization and community. Some of these actions are totally risk free, with no chance of getting arrested. Others definitely involve the risk of arrest and will require legal advice and support. For your benefit, we have broken the actions down into three categories: no risk, low-risk, and high risk.

No-Risk Actions:

1. Write letters to President Clinton and your local politicians demanding national leadership in response to the AIDS crisis.

2. Organize an obituary action locally: Clip and send obituaries of people who have died of HIV-related illnesses along with a personal note to Bill Clinton at the White House.

3. Rent an advertising billboard and let your cornmunity know that the AIDS crisis is not over.

4. Phone in to local radio talk shows and discuss AIDS-related issues; organize within your community so that the station is flooded with calls throughout the program.

5. Book an articulate member of your organization on a local TV talk show.

6. Hold a press conference around local segments of the Names Project AIDS quilt.

7. Organize a postcard mail-in campaign to a local legislator asking them to lobby Clinton for national leadership in response to the AIDS crisis.

8. Organize a teach-in on AIDS-related issues at a local junior or senior high school, YW/MCA, YHMA, RA meeting, church or synagogue.

9. Ask your local library to prominently display books and literature on AIDS and AIDS-related issues.

10. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper/rnagazine, discussing AIDS-related issues of concern to your organization.

11. Organize a bake sale or Tupperware party and distribute condoms, fact sheets and safer sex information.

Low-Risk Actions

Organize outreach: set a table or hand out fliers in a local shopping mall, town square, or community center.

Wheatpaste attention-grabbing posters or fliers around your community.

Pass out condoms safer sex infomation and fact sheets at local high schools, bars, shopping malls, and sporting events.


High-Risk Actions

Organize a massive demonstration in front of a local government building that will raise public awareness about AIDS-related issues and the lack of federal leadership in responding to the AIDS crisis (block traffic, use creative chants and visuals, etc.).

Hang an AIDS banner from a prominent location (highway overpass, tall building, church steeple, etc.).

Build a mock graveyard of tombstones (of people who have died from the government's neglect of the AIDS crisis) and place it in prominent location.

Stage a massive die-in (a form of street theater in which demonstrators lie down in the streets symbolically in memory of those who have died from HIV disease).

Spray paint stenciled messages on streets and sidewalks, reminding people that the AIDS crisis is not over.

Take over the office(s) of a local politician, insurance company or drug manufacturer, chain/handcuff yourselves to a desk or doorway and refuse to leave until your demands have been met.

Interrupt/disrupt a local or federal politician's speech or fundraising event, demanding a response to the AIDS crisis.

Fill a casket with bloody bones (check with local restaurants and meat markets) and place it in a prominent location with AIDS-related messages.

Interrupt a local live newscast with AIDS-specific information and demands for continued coverage of the AIDS crisis.

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