I find that the NAMES Gallary Memorial Quilt is a testament to the notion that we all have a purpose while on this Earth. Our legacies may be known by few or know by the entire world, but nonetheless, the NAMES Gallary illustrates the individual’s purpose in a creative way.
According to the AIDS Memorial Quilt website, “In June of 1987, a small group of strangers gathered in a San Francisco storefront to document the lives they feared history would neglect.” The NAMES Gallary started with a few and ended up with more than 48,000 individuals being honored by the quilt. The AIDS Memorial Quilt pays tribute to the lives of victims of AIDS. The quilts share the common theme of memorializing individuals, yet no two blocks of quilt are the same. From minimalistic quilts to blocks of quilt that are filled with vivid color and art, it goes two show that the blocks of quilt represent individuals from all walks of life. Having a background of the AIDS Memorial Quilt Project is imperative in order to understand the significance of my research.
I wanted to research the role of activism in relation to the NAMES Quilt.
Through the NAMES Project, the life and legacies of David Feinberg and Dr. Rob Eichberg were able to come to life. From a minimal panel, the legacy of David Feinberg was brought to life through his books. Through Feinberg’s novels, protest methods, and raw narratives, he is able to illustrate the harsh reality of AIDS victims. In addition, the legacy of Rob Eichberg is one that hits close to home. Dr. Eichberg helped establish a day of emergence, also known as National Coming Out Day. The life of David Feinberg was one devoted to raising awareness towards AIDS while the life of Dr. Eichberg was used to promote the idea that being gay is nothing to be ashamed of but rather something to be embraced and focused on LGBT empowerment. While conventional methods of activism were part of Feinberg’s and Eichberg’s platform, both used unconventional methods of activism with the goal of changing the narrative surrounding AIDS and the gay community and giving a voice to individuals who had been ignored.
Through Feinberg’s publications, the originating of Coming Out Day and Eichberg, and the NAMES Gallery itself, platforms of activism is a force to be reckoned with, even to this day.
The impact of activism cannot be underestimated as I would assert that through activism elements such as awareness, change, and acceptance are the lasting results of activism within a society; the power of one can become the power of many.
In short, my research pays tribute to the work and legacies of David Feinberg and Dr. Rob. Eichberg by using the NAMES Gallary Memorial Quilt and analyzes the methods, temporal context, and lasting impact of both Feinberg and Eichberg’s platforms. My research is taking a close and specific look at the impact of activism on society and discusses how activism inspires social change.