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Activist and founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt honored with Lifetime of Commitment Award on World AIDS Day

© Onyx and Ash Photography

Cleve Jones, an AIDS activist and the creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, was given the Lifetime of Commitment Award by the Nationwide AIDS Memorial during a national celebration of World AIDS Day at the 10-acre National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco.

A major Memorial initiative to bring the Quilt to the South to address the crisis of rising HIV rates among communities of color and marginalized populations brought together leaders on the front lines of the epidemic for two days of events that featured powerful conversations and events focused on “Changing the Pattern for a Future without AIDS.”

Jones, who started the Quilt 35 years ago, was honored for his activist work and strong voice in the cause of social justice and health. He still inspires action and change today by speaking out without holding back on behalf of those who are frequently ignored and unheard.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Cleve in a special video tribute, saying, “Cleve, you are a force of nature – unshakable in the face of adversity, overflowing with a passion for serving others.”

On World AIDS Day, the National AIDS Memorial collaborated with regional partners from all over the nation to exhibit hundreds of Quilt portions with more than 3,500 individual panels in close to 100 communities. As part of the memorial’s Change the Pattern project, Montgomery and the surrounding communities are hosting the biggest Quilt display ever in Alabama. Through a $2.4 million grant from Gilead Sciences, the initiative is supporting Southern AIDS Coalition in arranging quilting workshops, exhibits, and educational programs across the Southern United States.