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The Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt was created in 1985 by San Francisco LGBT activist Cleve Jones and a group of his friends during a candlelight march in remembrance of the 1978 assassinations of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Jones had people write the names of loved ones that were lost to AIDS on cardboard signs that were taped to the San Francisco Federal Building. The signs resembled an enormous patchwork quilt and the rest is history. Today, the quilt contains over 45,000 panels and weighs 50 tons. More than 13 million people have visited the quilt at thousands of displays worldwide. Learn more about The national Names Project HERE

In 1990, Scott joined Honolulu friends Rita Andrade & Carmen Salazar, Dr. Sumner LaCroix, Bill Henry, Kevin Scahill and Dr. Cyril Goshima to form The Names Project Hawaii. Quickly adding numbers and raising money, the group soon approached Cleve Jones to arrange a display in Honolulu’s Neil Blaisdell Exhibition Hall. Presented in 1991, it was the first time a local chapter had been delegated full responsibility. Fortunately, Cleve sent us Gina [last name needed] who inspired us and directed the massive undertaking. I will always remember watching over 10,000 people from all walks of life reverently visiting The Quilt and taking away its message of hope and love. Over 40 Hawai`i panels were added, each sewn by loving hands. Sadly, that was only the beginning.

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Scott Foster and the Late Karen Anna, Founder of Maui’s Both Sides Now

304174_10151329602292860_532734330_nThe Washington, D.C. displays of October 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992 and 1996 are the only ones to have featured the Quilt in its entirety. Scott returned to Washington DC for the third time with the Hawai`i Quilt team in October of 1992. He again worked with the national Names Project media team to garner unprecedented international media for the historic series of events. This was the Quilt’s fourth DC display, this time in the very shadow of the Washington Monument. Scott and his late wife, Lynn Ellen Ryan were honored to have been selected to read names from the podium.

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Before, during and after the huge Quilt display, a series of protests took place all focused on the Bush White House. Sitting President George Bush I would not walk across the street to see the Quilt. Related or not, Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton the following month.

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President and Hillary Clinton with Cleve Jones at the 1996 DC Quilt display.

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