What an experience…   Classy Living Society volunteered with the Names Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt on Saturday, September 29 at the AIDS Walk/Run at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia.  AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run is the Southeast’s largest community fundraiser and awareness event for HIV/AIDS, benefiting AID Atlanta and 10 other local HIV/AIDS service providers.

The Memorial Quilt is the largest piece of community folk artwork in the world. As CLS members unfolded each quilt, the lives of each of those lost due to the AIDS epidemic were revealed in intricate and elaborate detail.

The idea for the NAMES Project Memorial Quilt was conceived in 1985.  This was at a time when both the social stigma of AIDS felt by surviving family members and the outright refusal by many funeral homes and cemeteries to handle the deceased’s remains meant many who died of AIDS-related causes did not receive funerals.  Lacking a memorial service or grave site, The Quilt was often the only opportunity survivors had to remember and celebrate their loved ones’ lives.

“This was an Awesome experience shared with an awesome group of people. We have learned so much from the quilts alone – to see families and friends of those who lost the fight to AIDS, come out to celebrate the lives they had was impactful,” said CLS member and volunteer Angela Ruffin.

The artistry of the quilt is amazing. When CLS members left the park, nearly $700,000 had been raised for AIDS research and education and the donations were still coming in.

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