I was sitting in my Italian class waiting for the professor to show up, and I happened upon an article in my university's newspaper that piqued my interest. It was about the AIDS Memorial Quilt coming to Indiana University, my university. I didn't have much else to do, so I went. Little did I know that I would be so humbled.
I walked in saw 30 panels hanging from the walls and ceiling and draped across the floor. Each of these panels is composed of eight 3-by-6 foot quilts, each quilt dedicated to educating the public, to spreading the word that AIDS kills, but mostly to the memory of a loved one. I don't know the exact number of panels that comprise the full AIDS quilt, but I imagine it is expansive, yet even that physical size cannot match up to the memories each one of those quilts is designed to commemorate. Mind over matter. Memories of loved ones, cries of those still living, each voice however frail or weakend by exhaustion trying to effect change in the way that people see AIDS, the way that people treat AIDS.
I walked in and, though arriving an hour after it started, was able to catch one speech and one theatrical act depicting one's first and last breath. It was beautiful. It was life. And life is beautiful.
I felt bad taking pictures. I thought it might be seen as insensitive, for whatever reasons. But I think of it as my way of spreading the word. I apologize as these pictures are quite large.
I just remembered that I used to live down the street from Ryan White at one point in my life. Small world.