MORRIS COUNTY, NJ -- The National AIDS Memorial officially launched the first-ever virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, 2020. The virtual exhibition, which will run through March 31, 2021, features more than 10,000 panels representing all 50 states and U.S. territories.
In anticipation of the exhibition, the National AIDS Memorial invited interested panel makers, individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to participate in its effort to use the power of the quilt to remember loved ones lost to HIV/AIDS and help the nation heal during the current novel coronavirus pandemic. The Morristown Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and the Touch Ministry of Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown heeded the call and sponsored quilt blocks 0615, 1517, 1744, 2268, 3763, 5670, 5856, and 5927, each memorializing New Jersey residents who died of HIV/AIDS.
The Morristown Alumnae Chapter and the Touch Ministry assist Morris County individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. Members of the Touch Ministry “touch” those dealing with HIV/AIDS by showing God’s love and compassion. Members of the Morristown Alumnae Chapter prepared home-cooked meals monthly for residents of the Eric Johnson House in Morristown from the early 1990s until it shut its doors in 2018. The Eric Johnson House provided a temporary haven for people coping with HIV/AIDS. The Morristown Alumnae Chapter and the Touch Ministry also participate annually in AIDS walks, raising thousands of dollars for the cause. Block 5670 of the quilt possesses a special meaning for the Morristown Alumnae Chapter and the Touch Ministry because Bethel Angels, another Morristown-based organization that supports HIV/AIDS initiatives in Morris County, created the panel to honor Morris County residents who succumbed to the disease.
“World AIDS Day is taking on new meaning this year, as COVID-19 has brought an enormous loss of life and grief to millions of people,” said John Cunningham, executive director of the National AIDS Memorial. “During the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, the [q]uilt was a source of immense comfort, inspiration and used as a tool for social activism to open the eyes of the nation to injustice and to help survivors grieve and heal. Through this exhibition, we hope the power and beauty of the [q]uilt can serve that same purpose for those who are experiencing loss and grief due to COVID-19.”
Proceeds from the virtual exhibition will be used to ensure the continued care and conservation of more than 48,000 individual quilt panels. The virtual exhibition is free to the public and accessible at www.aidsmemorial.org/virtual2020.
Editor's Note: Ferlanda Nixon is a member of the Morristown Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
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