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Quilt Display Programs

Throughout its history, The AIDS Memorial Quilt has been used as a tool to fight prejudice, raise awareness and funding, as a means to link hands with the global community in the fight against AIDS, and as an effective tool in HIV /AIDS prevention education. In its earliest days, The Quilt was used as a tool for activism – an embodiment of anger and grief at the senseless loss of lives to AIDS. As the face of AIDS has changed and the number of panels has increased, the people they remember have become increasingly diverse. In these many roles, this vast accumulation of sentiment and artistry has functioned as an eloquent expression of life and love, a tool for education and prevention of a deadly disease, and a unique reminder that peaceful social demonstration can indeed affect public policy and spearhead social change.

Background

The overarching goal of The NAMES Project Foundation is to facilitate maximum exposure of The Quilt by forming partnerships to increase community display and panel making opportunities. Through targeted initiatives that encompass a broad spectrum of community level partners, The AIDS Memorial Quilt reaches populations most at-risk for HIV infection and provides factual, culturally compatible information in order to: assist individuals in making informed, responsible life choices; and encourage individuals and groups to respond to the pandemic with compassion and resolve. Through The Quilt, The NAMES Project Foundation unites social groups, crossing the barriers of age, race, social class, culture and sexual orientation.

Displays are the backbone of The Quilt’s work. Sections of The AIDS Memorial Quilt are continuously on display across the country in schools, churches, synagogues, community centers and a variety of other institutional settings. The Quilt is used as a companion to HIV/AIDS education programs in schools, colleges and other community forums.

The NAMES Project, chapters and volunteers all work together to maximize The Quilt’s potential to humanize, memorialize, educate and advocate through community-based displays. All donations received at locally hosted Quilt displays go directly to fund local AIDS service organizations, raising over $4.2 million to date.

Data collected at Quilt displays reveals that the experience is indeed so powerful that a majority of viewers are motivated to seek further information about HIV and AIDS after seeing The Quilt – between 80-90% seek information on HIV transmission facts and prevention after viewing The Quilt. This is a remarkable achievement for one single health education resource tool.

Current National Display Initiatives

In addition to the hundreds of Quilt displays organized annually throughout the nation, The NAMES Project works diligently with Quilt chapters, with colleges and universities, and with other small display hosts to reach the highest at-risk populations with coordinated displays and HIV prevention/education programming. This is done in order to stem the tide of new HIV infections and to breakdown barriers to healing.

The National Youth Education Program brings Quilt to youth around the country in schools and community organizations, raising awareness of HIV/AIDS in a context-sensitive way that is found uniquely in the displays of The Quilt that we curate every day.

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative is reaching African American students to open dialogue about HIV/AIDS, and provide HIV infection prevention education that reaches out to students and illustrates as nothing else can the simple truth than no one is immune to HIV/AIDS.

Our Communities of Faith Display Initiative recognizes the central role faith-based institutions play in many individuals’ lives and communities. The NAMES Project regularly partners with leadership in faith-based institutions to coordinate displays of sections of The Quilt in a variety of settings, both within worship centers and in public spaces. Collaborations with the faith community reach audiences young and old, helping to facilitate informed dialogue about AIDS as well as healing from the human losses of the epidemic.

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