AIDS Quilt Tour of Historically Black Colleges & Universities


Because the growth of AIDS/HIV in the African American community, the AIDS Quilt sought to reposition itself from being a memorial to a vehicle of education by bringing the message of HIV protection to young people at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU).


Launching on Dec. 1, 2000, World AIDS Day, the Quilt began a national tour of Historically Black Colleges & Universities in Atlanta with a keynote speech by Coretta Scott King about “Black America’s Deadly Secret.” It was the first time Mrs. King had publicly discussed the topic of AIDS in the black community, and she was among the first major civil rights figures to address the issue. The AIDS Quilt display was the focal point of an education program that included free HIV testing and distribution of educational materials and condoms. John Mooney led the publicity outreach efforts, which included remote broadcasts from displays, interviews with young African Americans open to discussing the topic, as well as activists and representatives of the AIDS Quilt organization.


The AIDS Quilt HBCU tour received major press coverage from USA Today, CNN, and newspapers, TV and radio stations in local media markets including Atlanta, St. Louis, and Washington, DC. Schools provided HIV testing free of charge to hundreds of students and provided infection prevention information to thousands of students, as well as members of the general public who came to see the Quilt on display. John Mooney and his team were recognized with the industry’s prestigious Big Apple Award for cause-related marketing for the effort.