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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Temporarily Houses Portion of ‘AIDS Quilt’


Coinciding with World AIDS day on Dec. 1, nine panels of the AIDS memorial quilt were temporarily housed on the second floor of Campus Center.

From November 30 to December 4, the University of Massachusetts Boston was home to nine 12×12 foot panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. The NAMES Project Foundation is the custodian of this quilt, which is a memorial to those who have died of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

The AIDS Memorial Quilt began in 1987 with a single 3×6 foot panel. It is now a 54 ton handmade tapestry, made up of 48,000 individual 3×6 foot panels, and memorializes more than 90,000 people.

This is the third time that UMass Boston has hosted the quilt: once in June 1988, then again in May 1998, and now in December 2015. Chancellor J. Keith Motley, state representative Elizabeth A. Malia, and Carl Sciortino, the executive director of the AIDS Action Committee, spoke at the World AIDS Day Community Reception which was also the formal presentation of the quilt.

While it was on display, University Health Services and the Student Nurses Association worked to bring the latest information and resources about HIV and AIDS, offering rapid HIV testing, and promoting safe sex.

The Administrative Assistant for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Henry C. Paquin said, “It is important to still be talking about HIV/AIDS, because most of the people who are aware of it don’t really see the severity anymore.”

Hoping and intending for the appearance of the quilt to start conversations between people, he urged the community to remember the history, while talking about the future. “The more we talk about AIDS, the less it is feared, but we still need to keep the history alive.”

The panels displayed of the AIDS Memorial Quilt were sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of the Chancellor, Campus Center, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Student Arts and Events Council (SAEC), University Health Services, Anthropology Department, Bay State Stonewall Democrats, Division of Athletics, Recreation, Special Projects and Programs, and Boston Pride.