February 13, 2012
In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on February 7, The NAMES Project Foundation, with support from Merck, announced the launch of the "Call My Name" national tour. The tour will help call attention to the AIDS epidemic in African American communities in the U.S. through quilt-making and educational workshops.
The tour revives the legacy of quilting-as-activism to commemorate African American lives lost to the epidemic and to strengthen access to treatment and care for these communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections in 2009, despite representing only 14% of the U.S. population in that year.
"Over 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is more important than ever to remember those we've lost and protect those we love," says Julie Rhoad, president and CEO of The NAMES Project Foundation. "As the custodian of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, we are excited to partner with Merck to bring this effort to a new generation and to continue to inspire action to protect our communities."
Through collaboration with historically black colleges and universities, the Black AIDS Institute, policy makers, faith leaders, and pioneering AIDS activists and organizations, "Call My Name" workshops will provide an opportunity to create quilt panels in recognition of African Americans affected by HIV/AIDS. The workshops also include presentations by leading advocates, messages on HIV prevention, and critical information to address HIV/AIDS at the local level.
The 2012 national tour will visit 10 high-prevalence cities this year including Atlanta; Houston; Los Angeles; Jackson, Mississippi; Washington, D.C.; Tallahassee, Florida; Philadelphia; Chicago; Boston; and San Francisco. The tour kicks off February 11, 2012 in Atlanta, where The NAMES Project Foundation will partner with Spelman College, the Atlanta University Center, SisterLove, BTAN Atlanta, and The SCLC Women to host hundreds of participants. The national tour will culminate in a panel dedication ceremony at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington, D.C. in July.
To learn more about "Call My Name" workshops in your area, or to request one, contact: Jada Harris at (404) 688-5500 ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.