The Monument Quilt SummaryJune 6, 2016
This past weekend, I was honored to join a phenomenal group of artists and activists for The Monument Quilt Leadership Retreat. The Monument Quilt is a collection of quilted stories from survivors of rape and abuse that creates public healing spaces by and for survivors. By allowing survivors to tell their own stories on quilt squares, the project aims to resist a single narrative of how sexual and domestic violence occurs and how survivors should heal. These quilt squares then become the landscape of large public displays across the U.S. and in Mexico.
Creating healing spaces in the open air of football fields, public parks, and train stations, the Monument Quilt temporarily integrates healing from rape and abuse into everyday public life. In doing so, the quilt displays envision a different reality in which it is the public’s responsibility to make space for survivors rather than the survivor’s responsibility to re-assimilate into a “normal” public. As stated in the project’s guiding values, the quilt’s vision calls for a society where survivors are publicly supported rather than publicly shamed. The physical space of the quilt display and the structure of quilting workshops are intentionally designed to empower and support survivors in their on-going healing processes by providing ample options, giving permission for an array of emotional reactions, and validating the difficulty of interacting with the material. In addition, The Monument Quilt recognizes that survivors experience violence, access to resources, justice and recovery differently based on gender, sexual orientation, race, class, ability, citizenship and age and accordingly builds in intentional spaces to support the specific needs of survivors in different communities.
The Monument Quilt project will culminate with a display of over 6,000 quilt squares on the National Mall in 2018, spelling out “Not Alone.” To find out more about The Monument Quilt, support the project, or host a quilting workshop in your community, visit themonumentquilt.org.