by Brandi E. Baumeister
A portion the of AIDS Memorial Quilt was displayed this week in the newly dedicated Wilson Library. This quilt displays the names of eight people who have died from AIDS. The theme of the Memorial Quilt, “Love Carefully,” is a saying known throughout the prevention field.
Tracy Germann, coordinator of the Prevention Center for alcohol and other drug abuse, said, “You have to have a response, and it will cause people to think. I hope the Quilt will bring increased awareness to the disease and by seeing the names it will bring abstract to reality.”
Between 1980 and 1987, more than 1,000 San Franciscans died of AIDS, according to a letter sent to Germann.
With the lack of government response, Cleve Jones, a man dedicated to remind the public of those who have died from AIDS, decided to take on the issue himself. Jones searched for a way to make the public comprehend and understand the sorrow and grief he and his friends were experiencing. He wanted to remember the names of the people who have succumbed to this deadly disease.
In June of 1987, he gathered friends and neighbors together in San Francisco “to take all of our individual experiences, and stitch them together to make something that had strength and beauty.” This was the beginning of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
On Oct. 11, 1987, the NAMES project, spelled in capitals to give respect to all persons who have died from AIDS, displayed the Quilt for the first time on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. There, almost 2,000 panels were laid out at dawn and thus began the immediate and widespread response to the Quilt. Since 1987, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown from a neighborhood cause to an international symbol of love, hope and awareness.
The Quilt was displayed between the entrance and exit doors in the Wilson Library this week. The University of La Verne acquired the 12×12 piece of the AIDS quilt from the Riverside NAMES Project Chapter. Each piece has five holes, or grommets, along each edge. These are used to connect the blocks together and for hanging the Quilt.
Along with the Quilt, flowers and condom key chains were sold this week by STEP educators outside the Student Center for $2. They also sold glow-in-the-dark condom boxers for $8. STEP sold these items to promote “Love Carefully Week,“ especially because this is Valentine’s Week.
“We want to create awareness of safer sex,” said sophomore Liz Lomeli.
“It (AIDS) kills people. The value of one’s life is worth living and caring for,” said Germann when asked about the importance of AIDS awareness.
For more information about the NAMES Project Foundation, write to: 310 Townsend Street, Suite 310, San Francisco, CA 94107, or phone (415) 882-5500.