Very much alike! Having known them both (from public meetings, not personally), I’d say they were possessed of the same spirit. They were both crusaders, righteous and zealous in their determination to take action from the truth as they understood it.

They were also both charismatic public speakers, though with quite different styles. Each could fire up a crowd and get people’s blood flowing.

Each was also very stubborn, which didn’t always lead to great group dynamics.

But effective leaders in times of crisis often share these traits.

The beauty of Act Up was that people really did put aside egos and work for the greater good. Strong personalities managed to get along and work together. Watching it happen was for a young man like me, something awe inspiring.


James Finn is a columnist for the LA Blade, a former Air Force intelligence analyst, an alumnus of Act Up NY, and an agented but unpublished novelist.

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