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A Community-Driven, Participatory, Digital AIDS Memorial for South Asian Americans

Memorials are physical manifestations of collective historical memory. They allow us to document, preserve, and commemorate history for future generations. But memorials beg the question: what exactly are we remembering, and who gets to decide the who, where, and the why?

The South Asian Americans Remembering Individuals Project, or The SAARI Project, is a community-driven, participatory, digital AIDS memorial for South Asian Americans who died from AIDS-related illness. This platform is a digital space to capture and preserve the memories of and stories about our fellow South Asian Americans whom we lost, so that we can remember them not as just victims of a heartless disease, but as human beings who lived rich and beautiful lives. This memorial is dedicated to not just those who are no longer with us, but also those South Asian American activists, healthcare workers, and allies who fought on the frontlines for dignity, compassion, and equal rights. By collecting their names and stories, we can ensure their lives are no longer omitted from the historical record.

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We invite you to explore the interactive memorial by clicking on individual panels to read about members of our community memorialized through this project. Each panel is dedicated to a single loved one. Let the power and beauty of the saari quilt serve as a reminder that AIDS is not a disease of “others,” and that together we can inspire action to ensure a similar crisis doesn’t happen again. Rest in power!

Please click on a panel to read more:

Panels with a pinned ribbon are dedicated to a community member. Panels without a pinned ribbon are not yet dedicated. If you have a loved one you would like to dedicate a panel to, please reach out to Nikhil D. Patil at epidemics@saada.org. We would be honored to share their memories.

Quilt designed by artist Kavya Tiwari, inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt.