Today: Jun 25, 2024

WGS hosts ‘Healing Quilt’ ceremony

Brandon Cortés – General Reporter

The inauguration of the healing quilt by the Women and Gender Studies Department took place on the third floor of the Adanti Student Center. 

The inauguration opened with a speech given by Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, the director of the Women and Gender studies, where she talked about the history of quilts and the ‘Healing Quilt’s” ties to the #MeToo movement. 

“The creation of this quilt shows us if anything that the university is a place for possibilities and showcasing how we show up for social justice,” Tricia Lin said. 

  

Professor Kari Swanson said that while reflecting on a community member within their healing space, the question arose of how to appropriately acknowledge and celebrate the resilience and strength of survivors in the community. 

“Our response was to create and collaborate with us on community projects to produce the Healing Quilt for the university community,” Swanson said. 

Swanson said that weaving arts have historically been considered women’s work, and that is often a collaborative effort. 

“We see this project as honoring that tradition, and we welcome participants of all genders,” Swanson said. 

Regarding the design of the quilt, Swanson explained that they opted for an elongated rainbow as a symbol of their community. 

The collaboration involved collective efforts in the initial phases of constructing the quilt, with some colors personally added by Swanson.  

The process included distributing fabric pairs, organizing workshops on campus and encouraging participation in the creation of individual quilt squares, which were later collected during these workshops. 

“We got squares from students, staff, faculty and alumni around the university,” Swanson said. 

By spring of 2019, they received more squares than were needed to complete the quilt. 

Alexander Girard, professor and chairperson of the Art and Design Department, participated in the creation of the quilt and was one of the first to participate and suggest ideas for its creation. 

Girard said he found it heartbreaking to hear and learn through a campus-wide email that a hate fire was put towards people standing for the #MeToo movement and any type of movement. 

“I said to myself: ‘What can I do, and how can I have any power to do something about this?’ It was then when I saw the opportunity for us to address some of these issues,” said Girard. 

Girard mentioned that after receiving the completed squares, they faced the challenge of assembling the quilt. Not being experienced in quilting, Girard turned to their mother for assistance.  

Together with their fiancé, they transported the project to Wisconsin, embarking on an 18-hour drive to allow Girard’s mother to piece the quilt together. The process involved breaking down the individual squares and, with the help of one of her friends, quilting them into the final product. 

“We are all excited that it’s in this beautiful space to hopefully inspire others who might be struggling with this issue or other issues and to be a nice visual reminder of how powerful it is to come together about something like this,” Girard said. 

Interim President Dwayne Smith attended the inauguration ceremony of the ‘Healing Quilt’, saying that this opening ceremony is something that embodies who we are as an institution. 

“The #MeToo movement is an issue that is dear to my heart, and it is truly wonderful to hear the history about how this came to be,” Smith said. 

Psychology major Thomas Robertson, a senior who attended the event, says he was perplexed and amazed by the ceremony and seeing the different squares that make up the healing quilt. 

“At the upper right corner of the quilt, there is one square that reads in cursive ‘my scars remind me that I indeed survive,’ It gave me goosebumps when I read it to myself. It was powerful,” Robertson said. 

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