Category Archives: quilt

A celebration of life

A few weekends ago I had the privilege of visiting the NAMES project AIDS quilt on the national mall in Washington, DC.    Growing up as a child of the 1980s, just when the epidemic was beginning I had seen images of the quilt being displayed in DC and had heard about it.  However, I was given the amazing opportunity to see a portion of the quilt myself.

I am sure that I have different feelings about viewing the quilt, then do many of my friends.  Many of my friends are generations older than myself, and lost many friends and loved ones to AIDS in the late eighties/early nineties.  Many of the quilt panels on display were dedicated to individuals who died during this period.  I felt emotion for those lost, however did not have a personal connection to them, as I have been lucky to come of age in the era of HAART.  Many individuals I know who saw the quilt for the first time cried, recalling their loved ones.

It was amazing to see tributes to so many diverse individuals – men, women, children.  So many lives were taken so young.  I cringed when I saw a panel dedicated to someone who passed away in their twenties.

I am happy that the quilt is being displayed for a new generation to view – in many ways I was excited because I thought it was a step forward in eradicating the current complacence in my opinion that surrounds HIV/AIDS – many think that because there are retrovirals and pre-exposure prophylaxis, that HIV and AIDS no longer affects people.  It does, and as we know epidemics are still raging among many communities around the world, unfortunately with no hint of letting up.  I believe that displaying the quilt served as a reminder to remind generation Z+ (I just made this name up for them) the impact AIDS has had on our nation and our world.

The quilt will also be displayed in various locations in its entirety for the International AIDS Conference.  I am so excited that I will be attending this conference! Although I have to work for some of the days I will be privileged to attend the opening and some of the evening sessions.  Of course I will report on what I attend.