Over 5,000 walkers will take to the streets of downtown Royal Oak on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, for the annual AIDS walk and the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt opening. Registration begins at 9 a.m.; the AIDS walk commences at 11:30 a.m. The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, an enormous 54-ton patchwork quilt, features quilt blocks designed by friends and family members of those lost to the AIDS/HIV pandemic.
AIDS, Auto-Immune Deficiency Syndrome, was first defined and publicized in 1981. Since that time, AIDS has killed over 25 million people. In the earlier years, people who died of AIDS were often not given funerals. Funeral parlors refused funeral services to friends and family of the deceased. Cemeteries refused to bury the dead for fear of contagion.
The NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was developed in 1987 as a way to honor loved ones lost to AIDS. The NAMES Project Memorial Quilt displays quilt blocks each with eight panels, 3 feet wide by 6 feet high. Each panel is created by family and friends and represents the life of a person lost to AIDS. Presently there are over 40,000 AIDS memorial quilt panels. As of 2010, the NAMES project AIDS Memorial Quilt is the largest community art project in the world. View the quilt in downtown Royal Oak at the AIDS walk on Sunday, Sept. 19.