By Liz McNeil
March 1, 2016
Six of Elizabeth Taylor’s grandchildren, her step-daughter Kate Burton and her great-grandson, Finn McMurray, 17, traveled to Washington DC on Feb. 29, to attend AIDSWatch to raise awareness about the continued importance of safe sex education and carry on their legendary grandmother’s activism.
It was a special moment for the grandchildren, Eliza Carson; Laela Wilding and her son Finn McMurray; Quinn Tivey; Tarquin Wilding; Naomi Wilding; and Rhys Tivey, who are focused on the star’s true passion with their work for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Taylor’s grandkids gave the second annual Elizabeth Taylor Legislative Leadership Award to Representative Barbara Lee (D – California) and posthumously to Senator Frank Lautenberg in recognition of their efforts to fight for comprehensive sex education in schools.
While she wasn’t the traditional kind of grandmother to “make you breakfast,” says her granddaughter Laela Wilding, 45, she left them with memories of warm hugs, “lots of snuggling,” and an imprint of “her huge heart.”
“I know that she’s an icon, and a celebrity and was called the most beautiful woman in the world,” says Wilding. “And that she was famous because she did what she wanted and that was part of her fame – her beauty, her talent and her crazy life but it was also her activism – which was a wonderful kind of end to her life. She used her celebrity for something more powerful. To stand up for others.”
By attending AIDSWatch, Taylor’s grandchildren hope to continue her fight for the importance of safe sex and sex education, and says Wilding, “to educate Congress on policies to end the HIV epidemic and to best care for those living with HIV.”
Their focus, this year, she says, “is preemptive sex education in middle and high schools. Young people under the age of 25 accounted for more than twenty percent of new HIV infections in 2014.”
While Taylor was celebrated for her great beauty, with that in mind, Wilding says, “I would love for her to be remembered as one who stood up for herself, and stood up for others. In this way, she was a great role mode for me.”