Shaina Brennan / AP
The AIDS Memory Blanket returns home to San Francisco, where it was first conceived and created in 1987 as an artistic expression of the challenge against the deadly disease that ultimately took hundreds of thousands of lives.
A quilt is a huge patchwork of more than 50,000 brightly colored and handcrafted 3-by-6 panels commemorating the lives of more than 105,000 people who have died of AIDS or related diseases. Her employee, the Names project, has been based in Atlanta for the past 18 years.
In a statement Wednesday at the Library of Congress, Julie Road, the president and CEO of the Names project, said she was managing the AIDS Blanket Memorial. and the names program will be transferred to the National AIDS Memorial in San Francisco.
"The blanket will return to San Francisco, where it began more than three decades ago," says Rhode.
The National AIDS Memorial is a federally designated national memorial located on a 10-acre site in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Its organizers plan to build an Interpretation Center for Social Conscience, which will house the AIDS quilt.
Rhode recalled that the quilt was the child of AIDS activists in San Francisco who, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, wanted to use the names of their friends and lovers to remember those who had succumbed to the disease.
"With this seemingly simple act of love and challenge, the first panels of the blanket were made," Rhode said. "They have made it impossible for the world to reject and deny AIDS, and they have made it impossible to look at it without looking at the human toll."
Thousands of quilts are displayed every year in the US and the world to raise awareness of the fight against AIDS. .
An archive of about 200,000 letters, photographs, biographical records and tribunes related to the quilt will be housed at the American Folklore Center at the Library of Congress, where they will eventually be made available to researchers and the public.
"The National AIDS Memorial and Blanket, by their very existence, have been a huge influence in telling the story of the AIDS crisis and the AIDS movement, a history of social justice," said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial. in a statement. "This message honors the leadership of the Project Name Foundation over the past three decades, passionately caring for The Quilt and ensuring that his permanent home will continue to forever honor his history, life, struggles, despair, injustice and the hope he represents." .
Since 1981, nearly 636,000 people have died from AIDS in the United States, and more than 1.1 million people in this country have been living with HIV, according to the organization.