May 26

How to Survive this Plague

What can AIDS activism teach protesters today?

Our second TeenFilm of the year offered an inspiring account of the way that AIDS protesters attacked the system that was putting their lives in danger. TeenClub member Scarlett offers her summary of what we can learn from it in today’s age of protest:

“How to survive a plague? It seems that the answer to that is standing up to it.

“Whether it’s a peaceful or a violent form of protest is up to you. This Thursday we compared the protests in 80’s campaigning for a cure for AIDS to the student strikes that take place every Thursday here in Brussels for the climate and discovered that there a quite a few things we can learn from our protesting predecessors. For example the organisation. In the 80’s they had specific locations where they were going to protest, namely the¬† facilities that were responsible for the unavailability for medication of the AIDS-epidemic. We students on the other hand call it a “march” and don’t actually stop in front of a building of significance.

“We thought that our message would be more impactful if we were to do that. Of course, there are certain differences¬†between the two causes, namely the fact that in the 80’s gay people were already a community. The AIDS-epidemic strengthened this already existing bond, whereas for students in 2019 this is not the case. We are all advocating our will for Climate Justice, but further our strength lies just in numbers. Nevertheless, just like the AIDS demonstrations made a big difference, if not solved the majority of the issue, the Climate strikes seem to be starting to work their magic.

“But what seemed to be the winning factor back in the 80’s was that they didn’t stop protesting until they rightfully got what each and everyone of them deserved. So must we.”

By Scarlett P, TeenClub member

We’ll be updating our blog soon with reading recommendations for those keen to know more about protest and its history – don’t forget to email teenclub[at] if you have any suggestions!