AIDS Memorial Quilt Should Be Displayed in Entirety To Raise Profile, Understanding of HIV/AIDS, Letter to Editor Says
The Atlanta-based Names Project Foundation -- which is involved in a lawsuit over the AIDS Memorial Quilt with Cleve Jones, who started the quilt in 1987 and served as its spokesperson for 15 years -- should "let go" of the quilt and "assist in displaying it in its entirety" to raise the profile and understanding of HIV/AIDS in the U.S., Jerry Clark, founder and CEO of the not-for-profit We Care Minnesota, writes in a New York Times letter to the editor in response to a Jan. 31 Times article (Clark, New York Times, 2/4). Jones and NPF in December 2005 reached an agreement on the issue of returning a portion of the quilt to San Francisco. Under the agreement, Jones will receive 35 blocks of the quilt after he creates a San Francisco-based organization to oversee them. According to the agreement, Jones was required to establish a "501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that will have the name of San Francisco Bay Area Friends of the AIDS Memorial Quilt" by Dec. 31, 2006. The settlement stipulated that if the deadline was not met, the foundation would be "relieved of any obligation to supply blocks of the quilt to the nonprofit." Jones said that he established a not-for-profit by the deadline through the San Francisco-based Tides Center, which oversees more than 200 projects. The dispute arises from the Tide Center's Web site, which states that it is "legally and financially responsible for all Tides Center projects and activities" and that "[p]rojects are not separate entities or affiliated organizations -- projects are Tides Center." An attorney for NPF in January said Jones has not met the requirement (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/31). "If the quilt were displayed in its entirety, the country might just wake up" to the impact of HIV/AIDS, Clark writes, adding that increased funding for research and prevention efforts "would be a natural result of raising the profile and understanding of this terrible disease" (New York Times, 2/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.