Look Closer is a photo series by OZY that encourages readers to see beyond a seemingly normal photo. Hover over the circles to explore the photo more deeply.
There were more than 44,000 individual panels in the quilt, weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
The quilt was often the only opportunity survivors had to remember and honor the lives of their loved ones. Many who died of AIDS-related illnesses didn’t have funerals because of the social stigma early on. In fact, some funeral homes and cemeteries even refused to accept the bodies of the deceased.
Look Closer is a new photo series by OZY that encourages readers to see beyond a seemingly normal photo. Hover over the circles to explore the photo more deeply.
Look Closer: A Winter Day at Play...Or A Planet in Peril?
This might look like a group of women standing knee-deep in snow, but look beyond a glance: This isn’t snow. The white stuff surrounding them is a river full of pollutants. These women are offering their prayers to the sun god in the Yamuna, a dying water body in Delhi, India, during the Chhath festival, which was celebrated on November 2.
As dystopian as it might sound, Delhi has been hidden under a blanket of smog. The capital is in the grips of its annual hazardous air season after Diwali, the “festival of lights,” during which people burst firecrackers to celebrate. The fire-lighting continued despite a Supreme Court ban on most fireworks and on the burning of stubble by farmers in Punjab. The Delhi government was even forced to close down schools due to the hazardous air quality.
The 855-mile long Yamuna River has also been choking due to pollutants and toxins deposited by factories in the city. On Chhath, thousands of women were seen standing in the frothy, foamy waters of Yamuna, and some were even clicking selfies to chronicle the horrific state of the river.
The capital’s Yamuna Monitoring Panel, comprising members of the National Green Tribunal, has asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to report on the reasons behind the frothing and to close down the factories behind the sudden rise of toxins in the river.
Photograph by Adnan Abidi/Reuters
This could be Washingtonians standing beside a giant board game on the National Mall. But look beyond a glance and you’ll see that the spectators are gathered around the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt on a crisp October day in 1996. The expansive, colorful AIDS Memorial Quilt — with more than 44,000 panels weighing over 10,000 pounds — was designed to be an eye-catching tool for a national prevention campaign that portrayed the humanity behind the statistics. The idea for the project was hatched in 1985 by activist Cleve Jones and other volunteers during a candlelight march in remembrance of the 1978 assassinations of San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
In more ways than one, 1996 was an inflection point. It was the first year since the epidemic started that saw the AIDS incidence rate and deaths decline. In the same year, Time magazine Man of the Year was granted to AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho. The doctor was a pioneer in the use of drug “cocktails,” or combinations, to fight the virus. At the time, 23 million people worldwide were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 6 million people had already died.
“When the history of this era is written, it is likely that the men and women who turned the tide on AIDS will be seen as true heroes of the age,” Time wrote about Dr. Ho. By 2017, more than two decades later, nearly 37 million people had HIV/AIDS worldwide, according to UNAIDS.
Today, remembrance and commitment to LGBTQ rights are no less pressing. Pride Month, which commemorates the Stonewall riots of 1969 in Manhattan, is simultaneously a time for resistance and celebration. Among those both within and outside the LGBTQ community, this month evokes an intentional remembrance of decades of hard-fought progress that LGBTQ activists have made in demanding equal rights in American society. At the same time, it’s a reminder that democracy requires the active participation of all — and that the battle for equality is neither over nor won.
Photograph by Shayna Brennan/AP
The idea for the quilt was hatched by activist Cleve Jones during the candlelight march in remembrance of the 1978 assassinations of San Francisco city supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone.
The first display of the quilt was in 1987, in Washington, D.C., and it was displayed again in 1996 to be visited by President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was shown again at the time of the XIX International AIDS Conference in 2012.
The National Green Tribunal has been asked to explain why the Yamuna River is frothing and to hold the factories responsible accountable.
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The 855-mile-long Yamuna River has also been choking due to pollutants and toxins deposited by city-based industries.
A public health emergency was declared in New Delhi, where the air quality index topped the charts this week with the worst numbers seen in over three years.
Look Closer: Rugs, Giant Board Game, or Something Far More Poignant?
These women offer prayers to the sun god in the Yamuna River, a dying water body in Delhi, for the Chhath festival.
By Maroosha Muzaffar