Ragon Hosts Section of AIDS Memorial Quilt

Ragon Hosts Section of AIDS Memorial Quilt

Nov 13

  • posted by Sarah Sullivan
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For the month of November, the Ragon Institute is proud to host a section of the internationally celebrated AIDS Memorial Quilt, the 54-ton, handmade tapestry that memorializes more than 94,000 individuals lost to AIDS.


The AIDS Memorial Quilt was conceived of in November 1985 by long-time San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones, and began in 1987 with a single 3 x 6 foot panel dedicated to the memory of his friend Marvin Feldman. Public response to The Quilt was immediate. People in the U.S. cities most affected by AIDS — Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — sent panels to Jones’ San Francisco workshop and on October 11, 1987, The Quilt was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. It covered a space larger than a football field and included 1,920 panels.


Today, the 54-ton tapestry composed of 48,000 panels, tours the country in sections and remains the largest community art project in the world. It was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The NAMES Project Foundation is the international organization that is the custodian of The AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Said NAMES Project Foundation Executive Director, Julie Rhoad, “These handmade blocks, created by friends and family, tell the stories of individuals who have lost their lives to AIDS. We bring you their stories in the hope of inspiring compassion, healing and personal responsibility.”



The Quilt was hung this morning.

The section which will be on display on the central staircase on the 7th floor of the Ragon Institute is made up of 8 panels, honoring 8 victims of the AIDS epidemic: Tommy DiPlatzi (Everett MA), John Lee, Jack Carson, John J. Norris IV, Eddie Peters, Steven E. Fay, and Elizabeth and Ariel Glaser.
This section has special significance to the Ragon Institute since it contains a panel dedicated to Elizabeth, founder of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) which seeks to prevent pediatric HIV infection through research, advocacy, and prevention and treatment programs.
Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV through a blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth to her daughter, Ariel, who also contracted AIDS. After the death of her daughter, Elizabeth established the foundation along with friends Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis. The foundation lives on after her death in 1994 and continues to provide grants and awards to scientists performing research aimed towards the study and eradication of pediatric AIDS.
In 1997, Ragon Institute Director Dr. Bruce Walker served as a member of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and, in 2003, he was awarded the EGPAF Commitment to Children Award. Over the years, several Ragon researchers have received grants from the foundation to support their research.
The Ragon Institute is proud to be the home for this section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt during November and encourages everyone to come to visit and reflect on the many lives represented.




For more information on The NAMES Project and The AIDS Memorial Quilt, please visit aidsquilt.org or call the national headquarters at (404) 688-5500.


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