The Daily Agenda for Sunday, March 24

Jim Burroway

March 24th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Banned Ugandan Play To Be Staged In U.S.: Baltimore, MD. Last summer, play featuring a gay character in a pro-gay treatment was performed in a couple of small venues in suburban Kampala, Uganda. British national David Cecil, who served as the play’s producer, was soon arrested, jailed, tried and acquitted of charges in connection with staging the play, only to be re-arrested again and deported a month later. That play, The River and the Mountain, is being presented as a stage reading through this weekend  in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. Today’s reading of The River and the Mountain will be held at Single Carrot Theatre, 1727 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD., at 5:30 p.m. Readings are free, though donations will be accepted. Click here for more information.

Events This Weekend: Florida AIDS Walk & Music Festival, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, London, UK; Black Party, New York, NY; European Snow Pride, Tignes, France; OutBoard, Winter Park, CO.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
ACT-UP Launches First Protest: 1987. Morning rush hour became ensnarled in lower Manhattan as 250 AIDS activists protested at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street. The protest was the result of growing frustration over New York City’s lax response to the AIDS crisis in the city as well as the Food and Drug Administration’s cautious and excruciatingly slow process for approving new drugs to combat the disease. Only one drug, AZT, had been approved so far, but at $10,000 per year ($20,000 in today’s dollars) it was prohibitively expensive, hard to obtain (it was being rationed), and of very limited efficacy in treating the disease. European regulators had approved several other drugs for use in combating AIDS, but the FDA’s standard process for approval would take the better part of a decade, far longer than most people with AIDS would have to live.

The newly-formed group, ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power), was born from that frustration, and on the morning of March 24 they took to the streets for the first time. Playwright Larry Kramer, one of the group’s founder, said, “We’ve been told by the leading AIDS experts that there are drugs that are safer to use and more promising than AZT. We want these drugs and we want the Wall Street business community to help us get them.” The group also called for a massive public education campaign to stop the spread of the disease, an anti-discrimination policy for people with AIDS in treatment, insurance, employment and housing, and a national comprehensive national policy on AIDS. Protesters sat down in the middle of the street, resulting in seventeen arrests. After more than a year of protests, including a massive protest in which members of ACT-UP occupied the grounds of the FDA in Washington, D.C., (See Oct 11), the FDA finally relented and instituted a new emergency streamlined process for quicker approval of AIDS drugs.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

This your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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