By Kiera Morgan
The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners yesterday proclaimed today December 1st as World AIDS Day. This is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988. Globally over 39 million people have died of HIV/ AIDS. Since 2000, 30 million new infections were prevented, nearly 8 million deaths averted, and 15 million people living with HIV are now receiving treatment. Board Chair Bill Hall thanked the representatives from Oregon Coast Community College and the County Health Department to bring about awareness of the issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. The county wants to assure equal access to health care, HIV/AIDS treatment and renewed efforts to prevent this disease. This week is designed to increase awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS and to prevent the further spread of the disease and to promote sustained action to reduce new HIV infections.
The Oregon Central Coast Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has brought a collection of panels of The AIDS Memorial Quilt to Newport. The panels are on display this week at the Central County Campus of Oregon Coast Community College, located at 400 SE College Way in Newport.
The panels are on display in the Library. They are available Monday, Nov. 28 to students, faculty and staff, and will be available for viewing by the general public Tuesday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
On Thursday evening PLAG will be hosting a candle vigil from 6 to 6:30 p.m., likely with singing included. “In the early years there were tears, laughter and candles,” said one of the Newport event organizers. “Someone began singing, and the only songs everyone knew were Christmas carols. That continues to this day.”
The quilt panels PFLAG has displayed are specific to Lincoln County. These panels are done by family and friends in remembrance of their loved ones. For more information, visit PFLAG online.
About the Quilt
In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. Their goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting of devoted friends and lovers served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Today the Quilt is a powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic. More than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels — most commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS — have been sewn together by friends, lovers and family members. Learn more, at aidsquilt.org.