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Local and Community News

San Francisco: Rip in the AIDS Memorial Quilt

July 31, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Dolores Thompson folded up her late son's grave-size quilt Monday and packed it up in a box to be shipped to Atlanta to be stored with 45,500 other panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The simple act marked the last display for the Bay Area chapter of the Names Project, which started the quilt in 1987.

Last year, facing a $600,000 deficit and mounting costs, the Names Project moved its headquarters to Atlanta, and the Bay Area chapter folded May 31. Thompson and other local quilt workers cite as reasons for the chapter's close: a lack of volunteers, San Francisco's high rents, and changes to the national quilt foundation's rules for chapters, which they say made it impossible to survive. Another reason for the quilt's waning presence, of course, is that fewer people in the gay community are dying of AIDS.

Names Project officials in Atlanta say its many chapter closures, while difficult to watch, are part of an evolution for the 15-year-old organization. Earlier this year, quilt officials announced they had whittled away most of their debt by cutting staff and programming. They also began charging for shipping and restocking costs to chapters that wanted to borrow portions of the quilt, currently housed in a modest, climate-controlled former sound studio in Atlanta.

Officials promise a San Francisco presence again, preferably in the Castro, but perhaps in Bayview where they can reach out to that neighborhood's predominantly African-American community. "Some chapters have felt like it was owned by the gay and lesbian community, but the quilt needs to be going where the epidemic is going -- black communities, black churches," said Cleve Jones, a quilt founder.

Back to other CDC news for July 31, 2002

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
San Francisco Chronicle
07.30.02; Christopher Heredia

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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