Guest contributor: Jane Hopkins Walsh
Social justice movements have historically incorporated arts based visual components to amplify their messages by using images and visual art to literally making the invisible more visible. Examples of this include Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party and the AIDS quilt.
As an arts based medium, quilts are powerful semiotic vehicles for protest and memory, and actual representations of comfort and care. Throughout history, suffragettes, abolitionists, enslaved people, Vietnam war protesters, and HIV/AIDS and 911 survivors have used fiber art and the quilt medium to come together in communal spaces for the purpose of grieving, memorializing and honoring others, and for communicating political opinions about important issues of the day.
This week, health care providers from the group called Doctors for Camp Closure, (D4CC) are coordinating a nationwide 24-hour protest vigils outside detention centers to draw attention to the serious risks of infection from CoVid-19 in detention centers and prisons nationwide. In solidarity and collaboration with community groups around the nation, D4CC are incorporating many arts based events including poetry reading, music, story telling, reflective journaling, and the creation of a virtual and actual protest quilt called the #D4CCQuiltProject.
Using the social media platform Instagram and the use of the project hashtags, the virtual #D4CCQuiltProject project will “sew” together images from the nationwide protest, banner messages, and other images or words drawing attention to the risks of CoVId-19 infection for detained and incarcerated people. The #D4CCQuiltProject can also spotlight less obvious historical and structural issues of the Capitalocene that are driving refugees to immigrate around the globe including persistent white settler colonialism, neoliberalism, militarization, persistent extraction of living and non living resources around the world by the Global North, and climate related extremes- all factors driving im/migration globally and to the US, and contributing to conditions of extreme poverty, violence, and food and water insecurity throughout the world. Structural violence issues
MIssion Statement: The #DetentionIsDeadly #FreeThemAll Quilt Project messages are intersectional social justice messages and may include these ideas among others :
- Show healthcare worker support for the Free Them All movement to release people detained by ICE during COVID pandemic, draw media attention to the dangers of incarceration, and increase public support for decarceration
- Prisons and detention centers are filled with impoverished Black and Indigenous People of Color, and Undocumented People, and they are increasingly the largest sites of COVID-19 infection
- Social distancing in detention or prison to reduce the risk of COVID-19 is impossible.
- As health care providers we oppose detention.
- Many prisons and detention centers in the US are capitalist oppressive for-profit systems that filled with people who have been disadvantaged across generations by the very systems that now hold them prisoner.
- Migration to the US is driven by intersectional issues for which we as US citizens are complicit including US colonialism, climate injustice, capitalist extractive industries, globalization and neoliberalism (think sugar, palm oil, hydroelectric power, coffee, lumber, beef, global agriculture to name a few).
- Native American and Indigenous land rights issues in the US are erased within discussions of immigration. (One example among others is: May 2020 The Wampanoag Tribe in in Massachusetts are struggling to retain land rights).
- LQBTQI issues get erased in the discussion of immigration and detention.
- A virtual quilt that “sews” together square virtual images that align with the purpose of the action. and/or
- An actual quilt that has names, images etc on fabric and that can be actually sewn together and/or
- An intersectional art project that is open to the greater art community.
Project Guide: How to Participate
There are TWO WAYS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE QUILT PROJECT
- Take a square photo of any message or image that aligns with issues of social justice, examples above, open to interpretation; the only restriction is the photo/image must pass minimum standards for social media, ie) non vulgar non obscene etc
- Can be poetry, single words or phrases, a photo of a flower, headline in news, anything, names of deceased persons to honor who have been impacted by structural violence, See some image examples below.
- You may superimpose a message on a photo you already have. You may superimpose the project hashtags, or a message on a picture of your Protest Banner.
- A Square image is needed to “fit them together “
- Upload to Instagram with 3 primary hashtags #DetentionIsDeadly #FreeThemAll#D4CCQuiltProject
- Secondary hashtags are fine too but you have to use these 3 so we can “find” the “images” on Instagram you can also Tag @doctorsforcampclosure
- Ultimately, the images can be placed on colored squares see below and “sewn” virtually into a virtual quilt. This will happen in the near future after we have a number of images.
- The quilt will be shared on social media to amplify the messages
- During the vigil, before or up to two- four weeks after vigil, people can mail me 12 by 12 inch squares of actual fabric with messages hand written or sewn , and I will sew them together and make them onto a physical quilt.
- Any fabric is acceptable but dimensions should be 12 inches by 12 inches
- This is a way to get the public, friends, kids, and family members involved in this cause.
- People can include the creation of a physical square as a way of reflecting during the 24 hour vigil. Think child art, spontaneous, no pressure to have any “art” or sewing skills. Just has to be about 12 by 12 fabric based no rules on type of fabric.
- People can invite local community groups to participate in the creation of squares.
- PM Jane Hopkins Walsh for address where to send fabric.
- Fabric must reach me by +- June 15th 2020.
- The actual quilt could be part of a larger traveling protest quilt that gets added on to in other future protests.
- Ultimately the actual and the virtual quilt could be part of larger intersections with the art community to amplify and intersect our messages. For example we could have sew-ins in protest in NYC or other places, intersecting with other protests, or the quilt could travel to other cities and immigrant groups to include diverse social movements and groups all over. This is fluid and open to discussion as it unfolds.
EXAMPLES OF IMAGES BELOW- PLEASE IF YOU SHARE THESE IMAGES GIVE CREDIT AS LISTED BELOW.
About Jane Hopkins Walsh
Protest Opinions in this document are My own
Pronouns She / Her
Jane Hopkins Walsh MSN, PNPC
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Primary Care at Longwood
Boston Children’s Hospital
300 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02466
Volunteer and Board Member
Central American Relief Efforts
PhD Candidate and Research Fellow
William F. Connell School of Nursing
Enrolled: Center for Human Rights and International Justice
Lynch School of Education
Jonas-Blaustein Scholar Cohort 2018-2020