AIDs Quilts memorial brings diversity to Suffolk campus
December 11, 2019
This past week the AIDs memorial patchwork quilts have been displayed across the Suffolk campus to spread awareness for those who have lost their lives to AIDs and families impacted by the virus. The memorial has been on display in the lobbies of the 73 Tremont, Sawyer and Sargent buildings.
The quilts display the names of those lost along with bright colors, pictures, and designs to honor the individuals displayed on each patch of the quilt. The individual stories of those who have died because of the virus have created more awareness of the impacted community and what efforts can be made to find a cure.
The quilts have become a national project to raise awareness for the AIDs virus and those impacted by it according to The Aids Quilts website. In 1985 after noticing that 1,000 San Franciscans had lost their lives to AIDs Cleve Jones organized a march in which dem- onstrators posted placards of those who lost their lives to AIDs on Federal California buildings. After noticing that the placards were similar to patchwork quilts, the AIDs memorial quilts were created as a larger memo- rial. The quilts personalized the memorial to specific individuals in hopes to see the need for public support to find a cure for this deadly virus.
Although the virus impacts the lives of many differ- ent groups globally, the virus has had a large impact on the LGBTQ+ community creating lack of research and stigma of those living with HIV and AIDs. By displaying memorials like the AIDs quilt the community is able to destroy stigmas and find representation leading to more research for a possible cure in the future.
Lukas Phipps, Chair of the SGA Diversity and Inclusion Committee spoke about the need to end the stigma behind the virus and the LGBTQ+ community.
“The importance of the AIDs Quilt memorials at Suffolk is to help person- alize a nationwide tragedy and the circumstances that exacerbated,” he said, “By bringing a grand scale tragedy in the context of our community, we stress the importance of sex education and LGBTQ+
destigmatization as we aim to humanize it.”
The Suffolk community had the honor of display- ing these quilts on World AIDs Day, Dec. 1. Every year since 1988, Worlds Aids Day has united people globally to find a cure to HIV according World AIDs Day website to commemo- rate those living with HIV, and to honor those who have died due to an AIDs related virus.
Today, 37.9 million people globally have HIV according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Deaths relating to the AIDs virus
has decreased by 55% since 2004, and although the disease is currently incurable, advanced treat- ment has made it possible for those with HIV to live long, healthy lives.
Gina Maffei, vice pres- ident of Queer Student Union, spoke about the importance of the quilts to the queer community at Suffolk.
“The AIDs quilts are important to bring to the Suffolk community because they are a very shocking piece of art that brings light to an issue that we often take for granted, and its par-
ticularly important for the queer community at Suffolk to remember members of the commu- nity who have sacrificed their lives.”
Because of the AIDs quilts, the Names Project Organization has been able to raise over 3 mil- lion dollars to AIDs service organizations throughout North America according to their website. Displaying the quilts across campus brings awareness to those who aren’t apart of the queer community, as well as those who are.