Saturday, December 1st marked the 30th Anniversary of World AIDS Day.WNCAP celebrated with a complimentary community luncheon that toasted the past, present and future of the HIV Movement. Held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Biltmore Village, the featured speaker was Mike Smith, co-founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
Speaking in front of the very first Quilt panel ever created by Cleve Jones (see below photo), Mike Smith relayed the fascinating story of how the AIDS Memorial Quilt came to be. As someone who was there from the very beginning, Smith was able to offer invaluable insight into the origins of the Quilt, from sobering statistics about how many people were dying in San Francisco to hilarious tales of what it took to transport the Quilt to Washington, D.C. (they used a plane that they later found out was used by Oliver North to smuggle weapons to the contras in Nicaragua).
There were a lot of laughs and even more tears. During the Q&A section, a dozen or more attendees expressed immense gratitude for the Quilt and how it helped them move through their grief during the worst days of the AIDS epidemic.
If you couldn’t make it to the World AIDS Day Community Celebration, you can still view the Facebook live stream here.