I'm Madeleine. I'm a 13 year old girl. I live in California and I think it's very sad what is happening to the world with this virus.
When you watch the news, it's just about the numbers and how they keep going up. They have gotten so big that we don't think of those numbers as people anymore and I want to change that.
They aren't just numbers. They are people who died and they deserve to be remembered.
That person could've been funny or kind or shy or smart. They might have had a dog or a cat or even a bird. They had families and friends. They were loved. They were alive. They are not a number and they should not be forgotten.
Every night we hear stories about people dying alone in hospitals without their families or friends to hold their hand and say goodbye. People are having funerals on Zoom. It's all sad. It breaks my heart.
My mom worked on the AIDS Memorial Quilt and she told me how healing and almost magical it was at the time. She lost people she loved and no one was honoring them. That was 35 years ago, and now people are dying again from another virus in another pandemic and we are in pain again.
I have always had a passion for sewing. So I thought, we can make a COVID MEMORIAL QUILT to honor the thousands of people who have died, the millions who are still sick and the millions more who are in pain because they lost someone they loved.
Because I wanted to be completely transparent where my idea came from, I reached out to the Board of Directors of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to tell them about my idea and ask for their advice.
I spoke to Michael Bongiorni, Interim Director, Quilt Operations, National AIDS Memorial. He gave me some great tips on fabric, making, transporting and caring for the Covid Memorial Quilt.
"Quilts show people care. The tradition of a quilt is very American. It's a tradition that shows compassion and remembrance. As activists, we can all join together to show love in a time of darkness." -Michael Bongiorni, Interim Director, Quilt Operations, National AIDS Memorial.
I also spoke to Cleve Jones, the Founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. He was surprised that a 13 year old girl like me would care about him or what he did in the 1980's, but I think what he did was an act of love and we all need more love right now.
If you have personally lost someone or want to honor someone in your community, please send me an 8 inch x 8 inch square.
I want to help people heal. I hope you will help me spread the word.