March 1978

The AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power (ACT UP) was formed at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in New York when Larry Kramer was asked to speak as part of a rotating speaker series.  Kramer spoke on the need to fight AIDS as well as against the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), which he co-founded and then resigned from in 1983.  

The organization adopted an inverted pink triangle along with the slogan “SILENCE = DEATH” as its logo shortly after its formation.  The Pink Triangle became a symbol of gay pride after being used during World Word II as a symbol of homosexuality, perversion, and deviance.

The Silence = Death Project drew parallels between the Nazi period and the AIDS crisis, declaring that ‘silence about the oppression and annihilation of gay people, then and now, must be broken as a matter of our survival.’