University of Pittsburgh
November 28, 2005

Pitt to Display AIDS Memorial Quilt

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's Pitt Program Council will present approximately 120 blocks of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Dec. 1-3, in the William Pitt Union's Kurtzman, Ballroom, and Assembly rooms, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The display is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The purpose of the memorial quilt is to increase awareness of AIDS and to remember those who have suffered from the disease.

The idea for a memorial quilt was conceived in November 1985 by long-time San Francisco gay right-activist Cleve Jones. Following the 1978 assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, Jones helped organize an annual candlelight march in the men's honor. While planning the 1985 march, Jones asked fellow marchers to write on placards the names of friends and loved ones who had died of AIDS. The placards were taped to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building, resembling a patchwork quilt.

Jones created the first panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of his friend Marvin Feldman. In June 1987, he teamed up with gay rights-activist Mike Smith and several others to formally organize the NAMES Project Foundation, Inc., the international custodian of the quilt.

The quilt is the world's largest memoriam, with each panel handmade by the families and friends of AIDS victims. Today it comprises approximately 40,000 panels. If displayed in its entirety, it would cover four football fields.

In 1997, the quilt was displayed at the University of Pittsburgh and more than 7,000 people viewed it during the three-day event.

For information, call the Pitt Program Council at 412-648-7900.