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Eight Arrested at Massive Rally in NYC as Activists Demand Obama Fulfill Global AIDS Promises

Protest1

President Obama faced a massive protest outside a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at the St. Regis hotel in New York last night, over broken promises on AIDS funding. Eight activists were arrested.

Protest5 Housing Works has a big report:

"In addition to those arrested, 500 protesters from around the world chanted and marched holding signs reading “No More AIDS Lies! Treat People Now!” and carrying body bags. 'While they are inside sipping champagne and caviar, Obama’s broken promises for global AIDS funding mean people will die because they cannot afford a ‘cocktail’ of HIV/AIDS medication,' said ACT UP Philadelphia member Henry Bennett. 'Obama gave them hope, then he took it away...'

...This protest was viewed as urgent by AIDS activists, who see the Obama administration back-tracking on promises to fight global AIDS, just when the world is making real progress against the epidemic. One of the largest AIDS protests in recent memory, last night’s demonstration brought out longtime activists who are no longer protest regulars, including ACT UP founder Larry Kramer and South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign’s Zackie Achmat. 'I’m here because this is a tragedy,' Achmat said at the rally that preceded the arrests. 'When he was campaigning, President Obama met with us. He learned that PEPFAR saves lives. But did he come just to get his picture taken or to listen to us?'"

Protest2   Protest3 

Said Kramer, in his remarks, which he sent out to some media, including Towleroad:

Why is it always so hard for us to fight back? This man does not like us. When someone does not like you, you fight back. This Obama who is not my president and not your president obviously does not like us. It is not a secret. Day after day and week after week and month after month he tells us he does not like us. He tells us! He does not keep this a secret. His government does not like us. His chief of staff does not like us. His Attorney General does not like us. His Department of Justice does not like us. His Generals do not like us. His Department of Health and Human Services does not like us. This is not a new situation for us."

Read Kramer's full remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Protest4 

Photos by Kaytee Riek.

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Remarks made by Larry Kramer at ACT UP/HealthGap Demonstration Against Obama

LARRY KRAMER

Obama is not my president. Obama is not your president. Obama does not like AIDS. Obama does not like gays. Now what are we going to do about it? Because we continue to sit on the sidelines while our world is denied us, yes, our world, which is as much our world as anyone else’s, is denied us. Our rights are denied us. Our love is denied us. We are even denied the right to fight for our country. How long must we be denied all of this before we truly rise up in united anger!

Why is it always so hard for us to fight back? This man does not like us. When someone does not like you, you fight back. This Obama who is not my president and not your president obviously does not like us. It is not a secret. Day after day and week after week and month after month he tells us he does not like us. He tells us! He does not keep this a secret. His government does not like us. His chief of staff does not like us. His Attorney General does not like us. His Department of Justice does not like us. His Generals do not like us. His Department of Health and Human Services does not like us. This is not a new situation for us.

President after President have treated us so badly. Ronald Reagan. George Bush the first. Bill Clinton. George Bush the second. Barack Obama. They have all treated us like… shit. Like little pieces of shit that they can step on with their heels and grind into the ground. Obama is treating us just like that. Like little pieces of shit he can grind into the dirt with his heel to make us go away. I wish you could see that. I wish you could see what he is doing to us for for what it is. He is manipulating us into invisibility. He HAS manipulated us into invisibility. Our people in Washington live in a never-never cloud cuckoo-land, thinking that this man likes us, not responding as, little by little, he take bits and pieces of us away. That is how they control us. Can’t you see that? Why can’t our people in Washington see that? They give them a dinner as they take away another right.

How long are we going to allow ourselves to be treated with such disdain, to be cast way in such an unwanted and disposable and ignoble fashion?

We forget what miracles we once were able to accomplish. Every single treatment for HIV/AIDS is out there because of us. If they are out there because of us, why can’t all the people waiting for Ryan White meds get them? Why can’t over 90% of the rest of the world get them? We did not fight for them just for ourselves. So many dead young men fought as activists for those drugs to save the world and this Obama will not let them save the world. Little by little he takes away our Ryan White drugs in America and our PEPFAR drugs for the rest of the world and our AIDS organizations and clinics everywhere so he can grind even more people with his heel into the earth like little helpless smelly pieces of shit. Yes, this man, like all his rotten hateful predecessors treats us like shit.

I am so tired of being treated like shit.

I wish you could realize that my words and my language and my vocabulary are not too strong. They are not strong enough!

I beg of us all. Re-assemble! Re-unite! Fight back once more with the passion and honor and truth and unity and brotherhood as we once did. We once accomplished miracles. Why do we not recall our glorious fights and build anew upon them? They treat us like shit because we let them treat us like shit. When will we get that into our heads and hearts and fight back?

How effective and fierce and unstoppable we can be when we take action together. The only reason we got those drugs is because of direct action, mobilization, fighting back. That is the reality of what we have been able to accomplish. We are alive, for those of us who are still alive, because we saved ourselves! When we fought back rudely and together, we were able to achieve miraculous victories. I take these victories, as do many of you, every morning with my breakfast. This Obama president made a commitment to ensure that America does its fair share to fight AIDS, in Africa, in America, and around the world. He has broken that promise. He, like Clinton, has lied to us. He does not like us, this president, as the other presidents did not like us. We are not a part of their American People. He does not want us to get married, he does not want us to fight for our country, he does not want to end the plague of AIDS.

We must have the presence of mind and the force of character to insist that he and his society are wrong and we are right.

Do you need to know any more than this? This is all you need to know. And that once upon a time we accomplished miracles.

Can we do it again? Oh, please, can we do it again?

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Comments

  1. Silence = Death

    Posted by: Wayne | May 14, 2010 8:23:26 AM


  2. On one hand, I totally support the anger and resentment displayed at this rally. In fact, George Bush did more than Obama in stepping up aid and funding for this global crisis.

    That being said, there is a crisis right here at home. The Ryan White act is not being properly funded and many low income people throughout this country cannot get access to the very same medications ACTUP is fighting for in other countries. In fact, we're only talking a couple hundred grand to fund this program in most states that would ensure equal access. When our government literally bails out failed banks to the tune of a trillion dollars, I resent the lack of urgency in helping my brothers and sisters stay alive.

    It will be very interesting to see what the audit of the Federal Reserve turns up later this year. I would venture to guess cronyism and payoffs and conflict of interest for the friends of those sitting on the board.

    Even though my tired ass isn't really up for it, I think it's time I become more directly involved at the local level. Georgia Equality, expect a call from me shortly. I've had enough.

    Posted by: Keith | May 14, 2010 9:19:56 AM


  3. So True Keith... Ryan White has been flat funded and ETHA was just a dream some of us had.... I'm a patient person but the empty promises are wearing me out.

    Posted by: John Normile | May 14, 2010 9:38:00 AM


  4. They expect Obama to come through on one of his promises? They're still expecting that?! Why don't they just wish for a trip to the moon on gossamer wings?

    Posted by: jomicur | May 14, 2010 9:46:57 AM


  5. Sorry, but didn't the president shift all the money into prevention measures? i.e. condoms and education.

    They say an once of prevention is worth a pound a cure. So if funds are limited, what's wrong with applying all that money to keep more infections from happening, rather than trying to keep everyone who's gotten it alive?

    We can't save everyone. There are also many, many children dying of starvation and malnutrition, malaria, and a litany of other diseases. If you only had $100, would you spend it to keep 100 people healthy or 1 person alive?

    Posted by: Frozen North | May 14, 2010 9:47:41 AM


  6. “People who claim the plague is over are dead wrong.

    Tens of millions of people around the world are denied anti-virals because they or their governments can't afford them,

    Obama and the Democrats, like Bush and the Republicans, capitulated to christer demands to push abstinence and to forego investing hundreds of billions to stop the plague here and abroad.

    Instead they gave it to Goldman Sachs

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | May 14, 2010 10:38:26 AM


  7. @Frozen North, you would have a valid argument accept you don't take several things into consideration.

    The Congress has yet to freeze their annual pay hikes, muchless reduce their discretionary spending on their staffs for water, flowers, parties, etc. Meanwhile, the rest of us are expected to suck it up and tighten our belts.

    This administration went out of it's way to to bail out the largest banks in this country, who for the most part caused much of the calamity and pitfalls in this economy. Let me think about it; a trillion for the elitist fuck-ups that got us into this mess or a few hundred grand to save lives via ADAP? Which costs the taxpayer more?

    As for the increased funding for education and prevention. Bitch please, I applied for one of several positions at the CDC that was spearheading this campaign. The end result was a fucking joke. Millions down the drain on an ineffective campaign that pretty much gets lost on most people. Why? Because they are afraid of direct messages that on one hand drills right into the brain of today's youth and on the other will offend the religious right, whose very strangle-hold on many school districts across this country prevents real sex-ed being from taught. Abstinence only based programs DO NOT WORK, just ask Bristol Palin.

    So, going back to my first point. A trillion to bailout the banks, or a couple hundred thousand to save lives in this country?

    Posted by: Keith | May 14, 2010 11:06:19 AM


  8. Frozen north, I don't know where you get your information, but it is totally wrong. Obama has continued to support Bush's PEPFAR program which relies on abstinence education as a primary "preventative" measure, even though it has been proven not only ineffective, but detrimental to the the prevention of the spread of HIV. Obama is a bigoted homophobe. His dismissal of our community is no surprise. If any of you that still support him paid any attention at all during the campaign you would know that. He didn't try to hide it at all.

    Posted by: gaylib | May 14, 2010 11:22:55 AM


  9. Please enough with the hyperbole. Obama is not a bigoted homophobe. He may be slacking on some fronts but let's not be assigning inaccurate labels for the sake of a reaction. We are in the middle of one of hugest financial crises in our nation's history. Too many of you are too quick to take note of what the man has failed to accomplish rather than acknowledging the difference between this administration and the former 8 years of Dubya.

    Posted by: drake onian | May 14, 2010 11:37:05 AM


  10. "...This Obama who is not my president and not your president!.."

    Who the fuck does Larry Kramer think he is?

    I have HIV and "This Obama" is my President. He is all of our President. To say otherwise is some Teabagger bullshit.

    During the worst of the Reagan & Bush administrations I never heard these activists say the "This ____is not my President. Is not your President." Wonder why Kramer feels privileged enough to say such a thing now? As much as I despised Bush I NEVER said he wasn't MY President, because he was.

    Would Larry like to see his birth certificate as well?

    And the day I need Larry Kramer to think for me is the day that my Truvada has stopped working and I'm all tubed up at County General.

    Do I love Obama like I loved Bill Clinton? No. Hells no. But, I consider myself a true patriotic American and I am deeply offended by this rhetoric.

    Btw, why should Obama do anything for you Kramer is you're not his President? If I were him, I'd tell you to sod off.

    I honor Larry's work in the past and what he is attempting to do now, however, he just became another White guy screaming shit at the Black President to me. He may as well be a Teabagger as far as I'm concerned from now on. I will issue a warning to white LGBT activists right now. Do not repeat the mistakes of the activists from Kramer's generation. Watch how you get your message out. This is the perfect example of a white male spouting off and not caring what effect his words may have on some people of color. Do not repeat this mistake.

    This Larry Kramer may be your activist. Larry Kramer is not my activist.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | May 14, 2010 11:37:46 AM


  11. My bad, I was pissed.

    "Btw, why should Obama do anything for you Kramer is you're not his President? If I were him, I'd tell you to sod off."

    Should have read:"Btw, why should Obama do anything for you Kramer if he's not YOUR President? If I were him, I'd tell you to sod off."


    Should

    Posted by: Derek Washington | May 14, 2010 11:41:10 AM


  12. It seems somebody spends too much time worrying about what the Rick Warren's of the world think to bother keeping their promises. And why should he bother, when he has so many self-loathing gays that fall all over themselves to defend him.

    Posted by: Wayne | May 14, 2010 1:21:12 PM


  13. I totally agree with you Derek Washington.

    Posted by: Sam | May 14, 2010 2:29:58 PM


  14. Oh, Larry. You poor cranky national treasure.

    Derek beat me to the point: YOU, Larry, God bless you, are not my activist. And we do not rally and protest and gnash our teeth in the streets because our friends are not dying every weekend. That's human nature. And you're living in a time warp.

    Our elected officials are fairly accurately reflecting public (and yes, gay) priorities when they make tough choices about funding and prevention.

    I gave $100 to AIDS Walkers last year and $100 to Big Brothers. So crucify me.

    I'm living with HIV and I have other interests. Thank God.

    Mark S. King
    MyFabulousDisease.com

    Posted by: Mark S. King | May 14, 2010 2:56:51 PM


  15. You 'men' posing comments here against Larry Kramer might want to THANK HIM before you plunge those knives into his back, you ignorant queens.

    There is not a gay man walking today that does not owe this man some gratitude. Your own families would just as soon see you dead as alive. Larry Kramer FOUGHT for OUR LIVES. HE is your FAMILY.

    And you should be ashamed of yourselves. For being stupid enough to have learned NOTHING from the first AIDS crisis, as we watch young gay men's HIV infection rates skyrocket AGAIN.

    Larry is right. Gay men will not be satisfied until they have fucked themselves to death. It seems to be all we care about. Fucking.

    From a 40-something gay man who has seen the dysfunctional cycle of gay life for many years, WAKE THE FUCK UP TO YOURSELVES, GAY MEN!

    Sometimes we suck ass. In a completely non-sexual manner.

    Posted by: Bill | May 14, 2010 3:35:17 PM


  16. What's really hilarious is that this "massive" march was completely ignored by the media. I live in New York and only know about it because I'm reading it on this blog right now. wtf?

    Posted by: Marty | May 14, 2010 4:22:25 PM


  17. Derek Washington - get mad more often, OK. It's when your real politics come out.

    For instance, wrapping yourself in a flag, "I consider myself a true patriotic American..." is not going to earn you any points. "Paytriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel...".

    Far worse than that is slandering Kramer and the huge numbers of GLBT folk who disagree with Obama's clear record of homohating and betrayal as racists "he just became another White guy screaming shit at the Black President to me. ..." is a clear signal of YOUR total political bankruptcy. Obama is our open enemy and holds us in contempt.

    Attempt to smear the fast growing number of people who are figuring that out is not going to work.

    Your political bankruptcy is clinched by your statement "Do I love Obama like I loved Bill Clinton? No. Hells no." No one who pretends to be for LGBT rights would be caught dead 'loving' the jackass who gave us DADT and DOMA" and then boasted about it:

    "Protecting religious freedom. It's the foundation of our nation.

    When the Justice Department went after a church to gather the parishioners' tithing money, the government was stopped cold because President Clinton overturned the government's policy and protected us. It's not the only time he's defended our values…

    President Clinton wants a complete ban on late term abortions except when the mother's life is in danger or faces severe health risks, such as the inability to have another child.

    The President signed the Defense of Marriage Act, supports curfews and school uniforms to teach our children discipline.

    President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it.

    "Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96".

    That ad began appearing on jebuz jumping redneck radio immediately after Clinton stabbed us in the back by championing and then signing DOMA.

    Is that why you "love" Clinton?

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | May 15, 2010 4:04:06 AM


  18. One way or another, and I really don't care how, I wish Larry Kramer would just go away.

    Posted by: Ronald McDonald | Jun 18, 2010 10:04:01 AM


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