Today's New York Times features an article on the latest skirmishes in the battle over the AIDS quilt, and if I do say so myself, a diverse array of folks are quoted! :-)
A Changing Battle on AIDS is Reflected in a Quilt
By JESSE McKINLEY
Published: January 31, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 30 — It has been 20 years since Cleve Jones started the AIDS Memorial Quilt here, painting the name of a friend who had died from the disease on a simple piece of fabric.
During the next two decades the quilt became the largest piece of community folk art in the world, a 54-ton collage affixed with the names of 91,000 victims of AIDS, a tapestry of grief that was one of the earliest and most effective tools in raising awareness of the disease.
Now Mr. Jones is locked in a legal tug of war with the quilt’s caretaker, the Names Project Foundation, over custody of 35 of its 6,000 panels. The dispute is not just about the relatively small swatch of the quilt, or even the simmering personality clash between Mr. Jones, a founder of the group, and his successors. More broadly, the battle reflects the changing symbolism and purpose of one of the most recognizable symbols of the AIDS crisis as the crisis itself has changed.
The confrontation has touched on issues percolating through the AIDS community, including the new racial, social and international demographics of the disease; changes in philanthropic trends; and the question of whether memorials are appropriate at a time when other major problems, including a rebound in unsafe sex and the emergence of new drug-resistant strains, persist.
“The quilt was very effective in the late ’80s and early ’90s for AIDS awareness,” said Michael Petrelis, a writer in San Francisco who has been active in the AIDS movement. “On the other hand, there’s hundreds and thousands of people that need a housing subsidy, just trying to keep a roof over their head. Should we be putting our time and money into another vigil? I don’t know.” [...]
Click here and read the full NYT story.