PRIDE!Kent creates AIDS memorial

Bryan Wroten

Craig Snell, freshman accounting major, works on a portion of the over 10,000 cards on front campus yesterday afternoon. Each card contains a name of an AIDS victim . “Through this I hope people become more aware – AIDS is a threat and a lot of people ha

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

There are more than 11,000 AIDS victims on Front Campus.

Members of PRIDE!Kent created a memorial for people who died from AIDS and AIDS complications yesterday.

During the past month, they have researched names, written them on notecards and glued them to popsicle sticks. President of PRIDE!Kent Christopher Taylor said it took three work sessions and members working on their own to put together the 11,600-name memorial.

“You look at it and you see only cards, but each of the cards represents a person,” said Shawn Szymecki, PRIDE!Kent secretary. “This is only a fraction of the number of people who have died from AIDS.”

PRIDE!Kent members started setting up the memorial about 1 p.m. yesterday on the hill of Front Campus. Taylor estimated they had set up more than 3,000 names by 5 p.m. He said he expected the project would take them until 1 or 2 a.m.

Ally Oulton, historian and treasurer for PRIDE!Kent, said though it’s a lot of work, it’s worth it.

“You put down a row of them and see the box is still full of them,” she said, laughing.

Maintenance will be a lot of work, he said. Groups will come out every day to inspect the memorial and fix anything in disrepair, he said. They aren’t worried about the weather or people trying to knock them over, he said.

“It’s too huge to wreck the whole thing,” Taylor said. “If you want to try to ruin the whole thing, go ahead – but we’ll keep setting it up again and again.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Bryan Wroten at [email protected].