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World AIDS Day 2019 – Remembering Those We Lost: The AIDS Memorial Quilt

World AIDS Day 2016: View The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt Online

In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The idea for the AIDS Quilt was conceived in November of 1985 by long-time San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones. Jones after learning that over 1,000 San Franciscans had been lost to AIDS. He asked each of his fellow marchers to write on placards the names of friends and loved ones who had died.  Jones and others stood on ladders taping these placards to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building. The wall of names looked like a patchwork quilt.

Jones and friends made plans for a larger memorial. A little over a year later, he created the first panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of his friend Marvin Feldman.  Response to the Quilt was immediate. People in the U.S. cities most affected by AIDS — Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — sent panels to the San Francisco workshop. Generous donors rapidly supplied sewing machines, equipment and other materials, and many volunteered tirelessly.

The mission of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Archive Project is to preserve the powerful images and stories of our fallen brothers and sisters and expand our AIDS awareness and HIV prevention education efforts.

To date all more than 50,000  hand-crafted 3-by-6 panels commemorating the lives of more than 105,000 people who died of AIDS or related illnesses creating a moving and permanent visual record of the AIDS pandemic.

Last month  it was announced that AIDS Memorial Quilt is returning home to San Francisco and will be housed at the  to the National AIDS Memorial in San Francisco.

God bless all our fallen and remember them now and always.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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5 thoughts on “World AIDS Day 2019 – Remembering Those We Lost: The AIDS Memorial Quilt”

  1. MARK RODGER H. U R STILL MISSED. LOVING HUSBAND/FATHER- (MYBROTHERMILITARY SERVICE X 15 YEARS DIED EARLY 1984 D/T ARC/GAY CA AT THAT TIME?/ U WOULD BE 67. WHAT A GREAT LOSS WE INDURED AND WE WERE TOLD BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WE COULD NOT GO NEAR U -SHAME ON THEM, BUT AT THE TIME THEY DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING.YOU WERE SURROUNDED BY YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS AND A CATHOLIC PRIEST, AT YOUR DEATH.THE PRIEST SENT US A BEAUTFUL LETTER AND THAT IS ALL WE HAVE. NO NOT ALL -WE HAVE GREAT MEMORIES OF A BEAUTFUL SELFLESS PERSON ,A FATHER A HUSBAND, A MAN WHO SERVED HIS COUNTRY-AND I AM PROUD TO SAY ….MY BROTHER. ALMOST 35 YEARS HAVE GONEBY….IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY …STILL FEELIN THE LOSSX0X0X0X0X0X0X0X0X0X
    RENE

  2. In our work leading up to the hosting of the 16th International AIDS Conference – AIDS2006 – in Toronto, Cleve Jones was a great ally, supporter, advisor and help in working with Toronto’s hotel workers, their union UniteHere and the hotels’ management and staff to welcome the world to the Toronto conference — and with the AIDS activist community. I will always remember working with him. I will also never forget the floral arrangement and deeply touching personal note he sent me with best wishes just before the start of the conference that I was leading as Executive Director. The same heart that inspired a quilt…reached out to lend a heart and hand to a new comrade-in-arms! IN SOLIDARITY, Cleve….for World AIDS DAY. ❤❤ Darryl Perry

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