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50 years in 50 weeks: 2019: AIDS quilt comes home

by BAR staff

Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive  

The November 21, 2019 issue contained big news: the National AIDS Memorial Grove announced that the San Francisco-based nonprofit would become the steward of the massive AIDS Memorial Quilt, which started in San Francisco in 1987 when Cleve Jones, Mike Smith, and Gert McMullin opened a Castro storefront. (Jones had initially urged people to write the names of people who had died of AIDS on placards during a march to the federal building in 1985). The resulting organization, the Names Project, had for many years housed the thousands of quilt panels in its new location in Atlanta. But by 2019, the project was looking for a permanent home for the quilt as the organization was in the process of winding down operations. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and the late Congressmember John Lewis (D-Georgia), as well as Congressmember Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), were all involved in the negotiations to bring the quilt back to the Bay Area. In February 2020, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the quilt panels were moved to a warehouse renovated for that purpose near the Oakland International Airport. While the pandemic has meant that the AIDS grove has not been able to fully utilize the quilt panels in public settings, some have been featured at various events over the past two years.

To read the issue, click here.


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