They hope adding a new memorial on Seattle’s Capitol Hill will allow the public to remember those who died and also inspire activism.
The AIDS Memorial Pathway project will fill a plaza near the Capitol Hill light rail station at the northwest corner Cal Anderson Park.
“There are not a lot of examples of what this should look like and I think that’s exciting,” said Tacoma artist Christopher Paul Jordan, one of the people working on the AIDS Memorial Pathway.
The memorial will tell the stories of those who lived and died with HIV/AIDS, and those who continue to fight the virus today.
“This is a focal point that’s really going to pose a question to the whole of Seattle as well as to the whole of the Northwest about who matters,” Jordan said.
Jordan says the memorial pathway will be a challenge.
“Oh my gosh, I absolutely feel like there’s a lot at stake,” Jordan said.
He says he wants his centerpiece artwork to be a call to action for continued activism. Jordan also says the memorial should include people often overlooked in HIV/AIDS history, such as women, people of color, and the homeless.
It will also tell the stories of gay men who were ravaged by the virus in the 80s and 90s before anti-retroviral drugs started saving lives.
“I hope that people understand that this is part of everyone’s history,” said Gabriel Stromberg, the creative director at Civilization. Civilization is a design company working on some of the memorial artwork.
A handful of cities have HIV-AIDS memorials including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Seattle’s memorial will be different.
When the memorial plaza opens in 2020, visitors will be able to use their phones to explore the history of HIV/AIDS and share their own stories.
Over the coming months, the artists working on the memorial will interview people impacted by the crisis, listen to stories of loss and look for ways to keep the issue alive.