Quilt visits for AIDS day

SOLEMN+VISITATION%3A++Students+observe+pieces+of+the+AIDS+quilt+on+World+AIDS+Day+on+December+1.+Portions+of+the+54-ton+quilt+were+displayed+in+Ruby+Scott+Gym+during+tutorial.++++Photo+by%3A+Joel+Abrahams
Back to Article
Back to Article

Quilt visits for AIDS day

SOLEMN VISITATION:  Students observe pieces of the AIDS quilt on World AIDS Day on December 1. Portions of the 54-ton quilt were displayed in Ruby Scott Gym during tutorial.    Photo by: Joel Abrahams

SOLEMN VISITATION: Students observe pieces of the AIDS quilt on World AIDS Day on December 1. Portions of the 54-ton quilt were displayed in Ruby Scott Gym during tutorial. Photo by: Joel Abrahams

SOLEMN VISITATION: Students observe pieces of the AIDS quilt on World AIDS Day on December 1. Portions of the 54-ton quilt were displayed in Ruby Scott Gym during tutorial. Photo by: Joel Abrahams

SOLEMN VISITATION: Students observe pieces of the AIDS quilt on World AIDS Day on December 1. Portions of the 54-ton quilt were displayed in Ruby Scott Gym during tutorial. Photo by: Joel Abrahams

By Julia Francis

SOLEMN VISITATION: Students observe pieces of the AIDS quilt on World AIDS Day on December 1. Portions of the 54-ton quilt were displayed in Ruby Scott Gym during tutorial. Photo by: Joel Abrahams

Weighing in at more than 54 tons, the national AIDS memorial quilt represents only a small portion of the half-million people that have died from AIDS in the United States alone. The AIDS quilt is the largest community art project in the world, with over 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels, each created by a family who has lost a loved one due to HIV AIDS.

With the efforts of junior Liza Brusman, president of the Gay-Straight Alliance and social studies teacher Laura Garret, the club’s supervisor, four sections of the quilt were delivered to Tam High for students to observe.

“As many people know, it’s an epidemic, and we have to bring awareness about the topic to high school students,” said Brusman.

Junior Marisa McDonald, after seeing the quilt, said, “Not many of us actually know someone who has died from AIDS, so it doesn’t always seem real. This made it seem real, especially seeing all the names from Marin.”

The AIDS pandemic was declared nearly 30 years ago, while the first quilt appearance was on October 11, 1987 at the National Mall in Washington D.C. where the congregation is held to combat and raise awareness of AIDS.

Many students appreciated the opportunity to have several panels showcased in Ruby Scott Gym on December 1, known internationally as World AIDS Day.

“I saw pictures of people and all the things that the families put on, and it really showed how much they lost,” said freshman Rachel Abrahams.

The organization that was in charge of supplying Tam with the quilt is known as the Marin AIDS Project and has been able to bring segments of the quilt to Tam in past years.

“It is important for people to realize that AIDS affects so many people’s lives, and despite the fact that people know it’s out there, sometimes they don’t really think that it can happen to them,” added McDonald.

More than 18 million people visited the quilt as of 2010, many to pay respect to the 91,000 names on the quilt.

“What really hit me was the grief of the people and how much they loved them,” said freshman Lisa Martinez.

Family and friends have the opportunity to complete an individual panel of the quilt in memory of a lost loved one. Any personal remembrance can be added to the quilt and will be accepted to the communal artwork.

“By bringing the AIDS quilt to Tam, it felt good knowing that our community was contributing to the fight against a global issue,” said junior Kit Larson.

“Each panel is so individual and personal that it’s truly inspiring,” said Brusman. “It is our job to bring knowledge of this issue and to educate the students here at Tam.”