Our vibrant and diverse community respects and heralds the power of quilting. As makers, we appreciate the importance of the story-telling, the historical significance, and the inherent activism that has carried us through decade after decade, fight after fight. A single block can hold laughter and tears, joy and sorrow. We rely on quilts to help us mourn and heal, and to find the tools to move forward, whether through the process of creating or the appreciation and reverence for what a finished project represents.
These days, we need these works of art more than ever… both to honor the victims and to give voice to the seemingly endless stream of injustice. We’ve found both sorrow and solace within the SJSA (Social Justice Sewing Academy) Remembrance Project. Say their names. [The following text is adapted from this page on the SJSA website.]
SJSA Remembrance Project is a community art initiative developed to create striking visual statements to memorialize those who have been unjustly murdered by community violence (e.g. gun violence, domestic violence, child abuse, etc.), race-based violence, law enforcement violence, and gender or sexuality based violence. Banners will be provided to local and national activist organizations who have requested creative tributes to be publicly displayed, representing solidarity and remembrance. The stunning artivism blocks honor the lives of affected individuals through both symbolism and portrait. Their names will be displayed and shared during community activism events reminding the world that their lives mattered.
For the makers, participating in this project is an emotional endeavor, one that involves research & education, really sitting with gravity of it all, and holding the person close. It’s about education on the injustices that systemically and individually impacted the person’s life. It is about highlighting the fact that the person’s life mattered.
Makers are asked to delve into the life beyond the name and the circumstances of the person’s death… to honor and appreciate and be active in sharing the story.
Truly, the intent of the project is multifaceted. On one level, it is about personal awareness– about recognizing a life… a human being with family and friends… someone who had dreams and goals. A life that is and was important.
On another level, it’s about overall acknowledgement of the magnitude of this issue. When SJSA was about to take a step back and look at the sheer size of the exhibit, they quickly acknowledged the tragic fact that they would likely run out of volunteers long before they ran out of names.
The audience is everyone. From activists, politicians and educators to neighbors, family, and police. We all play a role in this complex problem. If you are interested in getting involved… in making a block, we’d encourage you to head HERE to learn more.
These blocks represent a small number of the total that are currently on display. Visit the SJSA Remembrance Project on Instagram to see more.
Meet the Team
Founded in 2017, the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is a youth education program that bridges artistic expression with activism to advocate for social justice. Through a series of hands-on workshops in schools, prisons and community centers across the country, SJSA empowers youth to use textile art as a vehicle for personal transformation and community cohesion and become agents of social change. Many of our young artists make art that explores issues such as gender discrimination, mass incarceration, gun violence and gentrification. The powerful imagery they create in cloth tells their stories, and these quilt blocks are then sent to volunteers around the world to embellish and embroider before being sewn together into quilts to be displayed in museums, galleries and quilt shows across the country. This visual dialogue bridges differences in race, age and socioeconomics and sparks conversations and action in households across the country.