AIDS Memorial Quilt to be Displayed at Newark Academy
When Sophie Licostie ’19 was 8 years old, she spent the summer in Washington D.C., while one of her moms, Nadine, was working on a documentary on the AIDS epidemic, The Last One. That summer, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was on display in the Capital City.
“I was pretty young, but I got to meet a lot of interesting people and the entire event had a big impact on me,” Sophie recalled. “I remember in particular learning that each panel is the size of a human grave, and that was a fact that really resonated with me. I've been entertaining the idea of bringing the quilt to NA for a few years now, and as this is my senior year, I felt it is my last opportunity to bring it in for the school.”
So she did. With the help of Dean of Students Pegeen Galvin, Sophie arranged to have part of the quilt displayed at Newark Academy. And, it will actually be the quilt’s second appearance on campus. When NA had an AIDS Awareness Club in the 80s and 90s, the quilt was displayed on the floor of the Cetrulo Family Fencing Center because it was so large. This year, only part of the quilt will be on display in Kaltenbacher Hall from November 20-December 3.
President of the Gay-Straight Alliance at NA, the AIDS epidemic has been a part of Sophie’s life from Nadine’s documentary, to her other mother, Faith, working as an ER nurse, and having her uncle’s partner die from the disease.
“It’s just part of my family,” Sophie said. “It’s always been interesting to me from a cultural perspective.”
AIDS Memorial Quilt should fit seamlessly at NA, and sown into other events throughout the school. “I'm hoping Ms. Shapiro-Cooper's production of The Laramie Project raises some important topics for discussion concerning the LGBTQ+ community,” Sophie said. “And I think the quilt will offer another perspective and maintain the momentum in our community.”
With the endeavor in her mind for a while, Sophie is happy she spoke up and gets to see her vision come to fruition. “Part of it is I changed, I was really shy in sixth grade,” Sophie said. “But now I realize people are willing to listen if they give them the chance. We have to give them that opportunity.”