Panels of National AIDS Memorial Quilt on Display Through Friday

A display honoring lives lost during the AIDS epidemic is on display in the Pence Union Building in the Nysether Community Room.

The EWU Pride Center arranged for panels from the National AIDS Memorial Quilt to be displayed through Friday, Dec. 2 in observance of AIDS Awareness Week. 

The center is providing public tours of the display every hour from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. (To schedule a private tour for a class or group, please visit the Pride Center website at

The quilt was started in 1985 by Cleve Jones, a long-time human rights activist, author and lecturer, as a way to memorialize friends and peers who had died from AIDS. Gay men were severely impacted by the AIDS crisis, suffering not just from the illness itself but from devastated communities and pervasive discrimination created by public fear and misunderstanding. 

According to the National AIDS Memorial website, Jones and a small group of people began creating quilt blocks to “document the lives they feared history would neglect.” The group wanted to create a lasting memorial for those who had died of AIDS, while also helping people understand the devastating impact of the disease. Thus, the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was formed.

Today, colorful quilt blocks with touching messages honor 110,000 children and adults who have lost their lives to AIDS in the almost 40 years since the disease was first diagnosed. Those creative tributes are stitched into 50,000 panels that travel the country.

As part of the week’s events, the Pride Center also partnered with Spokane AIDS Network to provide free and confidential HIV rapid testing, with testing accessible on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Testing will be held in PUB 106. For anyone needing additional support, the Pride Center staff will be available to walk students over to visit Counseling and Wellness Services in Martin 225. 

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