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Portion of AIDS quilt comes to SCCC

"I went through all the resources [for a] whole year getting local contacts together, and [figuring out] who I was going to have to be in touch with on a nationwide level, because you have to request panels for the quilt through the national registry in Atlanta," said Julian Burnet, president of the SCCC Pride Alliance.

For Burnet, who was largely responsible for organizing the event, one of the most important components of the day was that it be open and free to all students, faculty, staff and members of the community. The emphasis of the day is education about HIV/AIDS.

"This whole day is about education " getting educated about HIV and AIDS. It's also an opportunity to come together and celebrate life, and to see what we can do as a large collective. Our main goal is education, education, education," said Burnet.

The AIDS Quilt is part of The Names Project Foundation, created in 1987 when the quilt was created. It is the custodian of The AIDS Memorial Quilt. Its mission is to care for and use the AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, heighten awareness and inspire action in the struggle against HIV and AIDS.

"If you stop for a moment [to look at the quilt], there are so many panels to it, and to me that's so many different people [who have been affected], so every time I walk into the room it's like so many different spirits of all these people and you can't not be affected by these panels that are so personalized by loved ones and family members," said Burnet.

"It seems that there are a lot of younger folks that are unaware [about the disease]," said Cindy Jennings, president of the New York Capital Region Chapter of The Names Project Foundation.

"About every hour-and-a-half across the U.S. someone else finds out that they're infected with the virus," said Jennings.

For information about the quilt, including instructions on how to contribute your own panel, visit www.aidsquilt.com or www.aidsquiltny.org.

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