Meet Cleve Jones
By His Own Blood author, John Montandon, had heard about Cleve Jones from his cousin, Pat Montandon, whom she had met as one of San Francisco's strong supporters of AIDS awareness. John contacted Cleve to ask him for a meeting so they could discuss his book and an important issue about John's father dying from AIDS. Just like in the book, they met on April 7, 2011.
Cleve Jones, a long-time San Francisco gay rights activist, conceived the Quilt idea. Since the 1978 assassinations of gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone, Jones had helped organize the annual candlelight march honoring those men. While planning the 1985 march, he learned that over 1,000 San Franciscans had been lost to AIDS. He asked each marcher to write the names of friends and loved ones on placards who had died of AIDS. When Jones and others taped them to the walls of the San Francisco Federal Building, the collection of names looked like a patchwork quilt.
Inspired by this sight, Jones and friends made plans for a larger memorial. A year later, he created the first panel for the AIDS Memorial Quilt in memory of his friend, Marvin Feldman. Pictured here are John Montandon and Jones holding up the AIDS Quilt panel that Montandon and his brother Gene are submitting in memory of their father.
The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt
In June of 1987, a small group gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect. The goal was to create a memorial for those who had died of AIDS, and to thereby help people understand the devastating impact of the disease. This meeting served as the foundation of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.
On October 11, 1987, the Quilt was displayed for the first time on the National Mall in Washington, DC, during the National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Today the Quilt is a powerful visual reminder of the AIDS pandemic. The Quilt is 1,293,300 square feet. Over 18 million people have visited it at locations across the nation.
On July 23, 2012, John Montandon, author of By His Own Blood, was invited by The NAMES Project Foundation to be a featured guest at a book signing at the Quilt 2012 Storefront in Washington, DC, as part of the month long International AIDS Conference. In addition, the 6'x3' Doc Montandon Memorial AIDS Quilt patch was displayed for the first time along with 48,000 others at the National Mall.
If you spent one minute for every panel, it would take 33 days to see them all.The Quilt is made up of over 44,000 panels each 3' high x 6' long.The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt has raised $4 millon for direct help those with AIDS.18 million people have visited the AIDS Quilt at locations across the nation.The Quilt was first displayed on the National Mall in Washington, DC on October 11, 1987.The largest community art project in the world, the Quilt, was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.