Started in 1987, The AIDS Memorial Quilt has become a cultural icon. More than 49,000 blocks have been created so far, each memorializing at least one person lost to HIV/AIDS. More than 675,000 have died from HIV/AIDS in the United States alone. There are many names that need to be added.
AIDS is unfortunately linked permanently with the history of the LGBT community. It was the thing that kept my generation scared to be ourselves, it continues to be the thing that allows bigots to persecute gays around the world, and it is the thing that took from the world so many bright stars, both known and unknown. It is easy for us to not think about HIV/AIDS today. It certainly isn’t the boogey man it was in the 1980s & 1990s, and there have been a lot of improvements through education and medicine. That doesn’t mean we move on. It’s important to remember what happened and the impact it has had on the world. It’s also important to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS today.
If you know someone who died from HIV/AIDS, you can make a quilt block for them by following the directions on the AIDS Quilt website. And if you don’t know anyone, but want to get involved somehow you can donate to the organization or sign up to host part of the quilt in your venue.