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On World AIDS Day, a memorial quilt at Connecticut College comforts those close to HIV

HIV Memorial quilt panels 2.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
HIV Memorial quilt panels

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. Those lost to the disease are remembered at a special exhibition at Connecticut College in New London.

HIV Memorial quilt panels.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
HIV Memorial quilt panels

Over 70 panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt are on display here, many of them with names from local people in the state who live with HIV, or have died from AIDS, if the virus is left untreated.

Virginia Anderson, an associate professor of theater at Connecticut College and organizer of the quilt exhibition, said students today are learning about the history behind the quilt and how people with AIDS were treated.

Assoc Professor Virginia Anderson looks at a panel on the HIV Memorial quilt of someone from New London.jpg
Brian Scott-Smith
/
WSHU
Associate Professor Virginia Anderson looks at a panel on the HIV Memorial Quilt of someone from New London

“They are angry that there’s this entire history, they’re one generation removed from, that involved people speaking so coldly, turning a shoulder when people needed help, that would just, had no humanity at all,” Anderson said.

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is composed of more than 48,000 panels dedicated to more than 94,000 individuals. It’s the largest ongoing piece of community folk art in the world.

The quilt panels are on display at the Tansill Theater at Hillyer Hall at Connecticut College and is open to the public, as well as students, to view from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until the end of Sunday, Dec. 4.

“It’s here to remember, to acknowledge today,” Anderson said, “to try to stop the pain and the ongoing silence people are so convinced that AIDS is a thing of the past, or maybe they’re not even aware of that past — as I find with my students.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.