Shayna Brennan / AP
The AIDS Memorial Quilt returns to San Francisco, where it was first conceived and created in 1987 as an artistic expression of the fight against the deadly disease that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.
Cement is an extensive patchwork of over 50,000 brightly colored and made 3-by-6 panels commemorating the lives of more than 105,000 people who died of AIDS or related diseases. Its caretaker, the Names Project, has been based in Atlanta for the past 18 years.
In an announcement Wednesday at the Library of Congress, Julie Rhoad, president and CEO of the Names Project, said the administration of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and the Names Project programs will be transferred to the National AIDS Memorial in San Francisco.
"The Quilt will return to San Francisco where it started more than three decades ago," Rhoad said.
The National AIDS Memorial is a designated federal memorial located on a 10-acre site in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Its organizers plan to build an "Interpretative Center for Social Conscience" where the AIDS Quilt will be organized. use the names of their friends and lovers to think of the sick.
"In a seemingly simple act of love and resistance, the first panels of the Quilt were made," Rhoad says. "They have made it impossible for the world to exterminate and reject AIDS, and it has made it impossible for us to look at it without looking at the human toll."
Thousands of quilt panels are displayed each year around the US and the world to increase awareness of the struggle to fight AIDS.
An archive of some 200,000 letters, photographs, biographical and tribal records associated with the quilt will be placed in the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress where they will be produced. available to researchers and the public.
"The National AIDS Memorial and The Quilt, in their very existence, have had a profound effect on narrating the AIDS crisis and the AIDS movement, a story of social justice," said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial, in a statement. "This announcement honors the trustees of The Names Project Foundation for the past three decades with the utmost care of The Quilt and assures that its permanent home will continue to honor its history, life, struggle, loss of hope, injustice and hope it represents.
Since 1981, nearly 636,000 people have died of AIDS in the US and more than 1.1 million people in this country live with HIV, according to organization.