Growing up, I remember learning about the AIDS Memorial Quilt. My mom lost a good friend to AIDS when I was very young and this has always stuck with me. On Sunday, I had my first chance to see this memorial for the AIDS pandemic in person.
Over 150 ONE members from across the region, and even from around the world, came out to help the NAMES Project Foundation who are displaying the Memorial Quilt on the National Mall this week as the International AIDS Conference comes to the nation’s capital. We were tasked with laying out the Quilt panels on the mall, helping to monitor as visitors came in, and to read names that are memorialized in the display.
Maria Taminez, one of our local volunteers reflected on the day:
“Laying out the quilt on the National Mall was something I never thought I would experience, and doing so alongside so many other volunteers was life changing. It is one thing to hear the number of people affected by and that have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, but seeing who these people really were through the quilt made it even more real to me.”
ONE members have been campaigning for programs that are working to save lives in the fight against AIDS. Now we are at an exciting moment where the possibility of an AIDS-free generation is on the horizon by 2015 if we keep at it and expand access to treatments that prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.
Even with all of this progress it is still important to reflect on those who we have lost and recommit to seeing this fight through to the end.