By Erin Broomell | Copy Editor
In June of 1987 a group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to remember the lives they feared history would forget. Over the course of 28 years their efforts were woven into a 54-ton handmade tapestry. The memorial containins more than 41,000 panels and includes over 94,000 names. The endeavor goes by, “The NAMES Project: AIDS Memorial Quilt.”
The College of Coastal Georgia hosted the Quilt Exhibit inside the Campus center Oct. 22-23. In an ode to The Quilt’s beginnings, friends and strangers gathered to remember those who succumb to the disease. Among these friends were Brunwick Mayor Cornell Harvey (D) and College President Dr. Gregory Aloia who reminded those attending of the memorial’s importance.
“(The reason is) to increase our awareness at the individual level of those who have died from AIDS and related AIDS causes and what that means to families in our society. We have to reflected on the dignity of all individuals and to true diversity we have on our campus in our community and celebrate the society we have and everyone who is represented in it,” Dr. Aloia continued, “It is also to reflect on the memory and spirit of those that we know personally and have known that are represented in this quilt and flag, as well as those who are not. It is to recommit ourselves to things that make life as rich and as important as it can be.”
The Quilt has been designated a national treasure by the United States Congress. The foundation coordinates displays of portions of The Quilt worldwide with the bulk of the quilts now stored in Atlanta, the foundations headquarters.
PFLAG of Brunswick, Psychology Club and Gay-Straight Alliance were among the sponsors which made bringing the Quilt to CCGA possible. The gathering attracted students, club members, staff, administration and members of the community. A reflection of the events intended message: we are all affected.
Professor of Psychology Social Sciences Dr. Karen Hambright was among the attendants.
“I think there is a greater social importance to break down some of the stigma about sexuality and homosexuality. To help people understand that we are all in this together. Anybody can be affected by it. We’re all affected by it. I think it’s important that people face that sexuality is as much a part of life as death is and there is no shame in it.”
The AIDS Memorial Quilt display is brought to CCGA each year in October. This year was the third year of its display. For more information on PFLAG of Brunswick visit www.facebook.com/PFLAGBrunswick. For more information about The NAMES Project Foundation or the AIDS Memorial Quilt visit www.aidsquilt.org.