“Physical memorials can be hidden from view,” Bartlett said. “We wanted to do something that would allow us to dive deeper into the story, tell them the essence and end the process of complete mourning.”
AIDS was particularly devastating for gays, though not only for them, until effective treatments were developed in the 1990s. The Memory project aims to honor the memory of all those who died of AIDS, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation, including children born with the disease.
Bartlett said it was important to remember an epidemic like AIDS as beyond individual grief, embracing the whole community.
Coincidentally, the Memory project is unfolding just when 1,000,000 deaths from the COVID-19 virus have reached the United States. At the beginning of the pandemic, many people were unable to properly gather to mourn the dead because of the risk of further spread of the virus.
“When we started this project, we had no idea there would be a COVID pandemic. But the hard work we’ve done to document these stories, create a play and perform a memorial ritual works very well in the context of COVID, “Bartlett said.” I think it will help many of us look at the people we lost. “but we are not in time, because we are exhausted, we are sad, we are dealing with everyday life. Now it is very difficult to fully remember the men and women who died at this time.”
Despite the fact that the level of AIDS in the city has been steadily declining over the past 20 years, according to city statisticsnew infected disproportionately black. In 2019, 262 people died of HIV in Philadelphia.