Reclaim Pride Coalition offers vaccinations to those who march

Reclaim Pride Coalition, organizers of the 3rd annual “no cops, no corporations, no politicians” Queer Liberation March (QLM), will provide COVID-19 vaccines to hundreds of attendees at this year’s March.

In recognition of the barriers that many poor and working class New Yorkers experience in accessing COVID-19 testing and vaccines, March organizers and ACT UP NY (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) are working with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to provide vaccines at both the start and end points of this year's March. 

"Historically, the LGBTQIA2S+ community, especially those of us who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, particularly our siblings who are queer and trans people of color, are disproportionately impacted by severe health disparaties in our community, which overwhelmingly contributes to barriers faced in accessing affirming healthcare," said Christian Molieri of Reclaim Pride.

"As is in our historical lineage, we refuse to remain silent and allow dominant culture to instruct us to wait on the sidelines. We queer, trans, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming individuals do not have that luxury."

For weeks, AIDS activists from Reclaim Pride Coalition member group ACT UP have demanded that DOHMH provide replacement services outside the closed clinics five days a week in the form of trucks that can test for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as offer sexual and reproductive health counseling.

“Over the past year, because of COVID, many people were forced to cancel or delay their regular health screenings, so now there is a giant backlog of HIV tests,” said Brandon Cuicchi of ACT UP.  “Instead of closing sexual health clinics and emphasizing COVID-19 vaccination at the expense of sexual health, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s strategy for vaccination must include fighting HIV and promoting sexual health.”

For June 27, LGBTQ+ and AIDS activists from ACT UP have coordinated multiple vaccine stations at Bryant Park for the start of the march and for a radical health fair dubbed “ACT UP For Health” at the end of the march along Thompson Street below Washington Square Park. “ACT UP For Health” will include more vaccine stations, HIV testing and counseling, PrEP, resources for LGBTQ+-affirming healthcare and mental health, “Joints For Jabs,” and more.

“ACT UP For Health” will host the third “Joints For Jabs” event in New York City after the huge success of their last two events, where over 1000 marijuana joints were distributed to people over 21 showing proof of vaccination. This is the first time vaccination will be offered alongside a “Joints For Jabs” event in New York City, and organizers hope that the chance for a free joint will encourage young people over 21, especially LGBTQ+ and those more marginalized, to show up and be vaccinated on site.

Joints For Jabs 3” is the realization of the dream we had from the beginning to offer COVID vaccines alongside marijuana joints. For people with HIV, marijuana has served as medicine since the early days of the AIDS epidemic, so it made perfect sense for ACT UP to host “Joints For Jabs” at the Queer Liberation March.

Kellen Gold, ACT UP

To receive their complimentary joint, participants must show proof of vaccination, which can be administered on site, and be over the age of 21.

WHAT: ACT UP For Health

WHEN: Sun, June 27, 3 p.m.-9 p.m. ET

WHERE: Thompson St. below Washington Square Park

WHO: Treatment Action Group + ACT UP NY + Housing Works + More

EVENT: /a>

TRAINS: A, B, C, D, E, F, M to W 4th St.; R, W to 8th St.

**Please wear a mask at this event**

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