By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City University and the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund have created an AIDS Memorial Digital Quilt in honor of the 30th anniversary of the original AIDS Memorial Quilt. The quilt is a way to pay tribute to the lives of loved ones lost to AIDS-related illnesses.
“Our digital quilt is a reminder that AIDS is still an epidemic in Oklahoma and around the world with one new infection occurring nearly every day,” said Russ Tallchief, director of student engagement, inclusion and multicultural programs at Oklahoma City University. “Through our partnership with the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, we can help bring awareness to ways of preventing infections and to promote services available through the organization and the community of HIV/AIDS service providers.”
Tallchief’s goal is to have 30 panels by December 1.
The AIDS Memorial Quilt is comprised of honoree names and digital images. Submissions are open to anyone who wishes to honor individuals, organizations, events or other honorees. The public is invited to honor the lives of people lost to AIDS-related illness by submitting their name(s) online to be added to the 2017 Oklahoma AIDS Memorial Digital Quilt.
Names will be displayed with the HIV/AIDS Awareness Ribbon or original graphic designs can be uploaded. Programs are available such as postermywall.com or canva.com to create your own digital panel using online.
The AIDS Quilt was originally conceived by San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones in November of 1985. Jones helped to organize the annual candlelight march honoring San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone who were killed in 1978. Participants of the 1985 march placed the names of those who had died of AIDS on placards and taped them to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building, The wall of names looked like a patchwork quilt giving rise to the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt founded in 1987.
“It’s been 30 years since the AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed and its impact and importance mean just as much today as it did in 1987,” Golding added. “These moving personal tribute panels honor the lives of those lost to AIDS-related illness and remind us to continue our efforts to reduce new infections, stigma and health disparities while increasing access to care and improving treatment.”
December 1 marks the global recognition of World AIDS Day, an important reminder that the disease is still prevalent in Oklahoma and that there is still a need to bring awareness to the cause.
The Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund and local HIV/AIDS service providers are partnering to paint the town RED in support of World AIDS Day by hosting several give-back events.
On Thursday, Nov. 30, a World AIDS Day Art Show Benefiting the Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund will be held at Waters Edge Winery – 2nd Floor Event Space at 712 N Broadway Ave in Oklahoma City from 5 – 8 p.m. An admission donation of $10 is suggested.
Participating artists include Denise Duong, Kyle Golding, Carl Hurst, Cindy Mason and Armando Ortiz. Fresh stART artists will be Lee Jones, Mark Lamb, Brenda McGahey, and Art Reyes.