Gary Kinsman, co-founder of the AAHP, was recently interviewed at length by Toronto-based journalist Michael Rancic for The Breach. The article explores what relevance HIV/AIDS activism of the ’80s and ’90s has for us today as we continue to deal with the ongoing COVID19 pandemic and the threat of future pandemics.
The gulf between the direct action of those early AIDS groups and how COVID-19 is being addressed couldn’t be greater, Kinsman said, with the response to COVID being focused on individual behaviours like masking, social distancing and hand sanitizing.
Grassroots movements around COVID have been missing in action. Kinsman said it’s urgent to remember the legacy of changes brought about by AIDS activists at the time: centering the people most affected in conversations about public health, creating more inclusive 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces, and bringing sex workers into the labour movement.
With restrictions lifted, variants on the rise, and no end to COVID-19 in sight, Canada’s left can and should be looking to AIDS activism and organizing as examples of how networks of community care build strong, lasting social movements.
To read the rest, head over to The Breach to read “What the Radical Response to AIDS Can Teach us in the Age of Pandemics“.