The AIDS Memorial Quilt on display at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in October 1996.
Photo Credit: The AIDS Memorial Quilt, The Names Project Foundation, 2006.

ASHEVILLE — This December will mark the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, an annual memorial and action day observed on Dec. 1 and set aside to remember those lost to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

In honor of the anniversary, the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP) will showcase sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in a week-long exhibit beginning Nov. 24. Organizers expect to have approximately 75 sections of the Quilt on display at Pack Place, as well as provide music and special events throughout the exhibit.

The week-long memorial will end on Dec. 1, with a Candlelight Interfaith Memorial Vigil.

World AIDS Day began in 1988 as an effort to assist the United Nations in keeping the fight against AIDS on the agenda for global political leaders. For many, it is a day of solidarity with those affected by the epidemic. Through the years, the memorial has grown to recognize those who have died, those who are living with the disease, the advances in science and medicine and more.

“The AIDS Memorial Quilt is an inspirational and intimate memorial to those who have died from AIDS,” WNCAP said in an Aug. 31 release. “There are over 47,000 panels that make up the Quilt and it has been seen by over 16 million people since 1987. The AIDS Memorial Quilt is intended to foster healing, heighten awareness and inspire action in the age of AIDS.”

WNCAP organizers are specifically looking for assistance from the Western North Carolina community and those in Asheville. They need people who would be willing to organize or volunteer at special events and are also looking for AIDS Quilt panels remembering those lost in Western North Carolina. Those with loved ones with a Quilt panel are encouraged to contact organizers so that they can request specific panels before the arrival of the Quilt. Those wanting to display the Western North Carolina panels can contact WNCAP at or at 828-252-7489. All submissions and requests must be made by Sept. 14.