The Cyber-Quilting Experiment
Jess McCabe // 27 November 2008
Cyber-quilters are the thread, the middle person for areas that are marginalized or simply unsure about how to use technology – Adele Nieves
The idea emerged around the time of the racially charged Jena Six trial. While still supporting the Jena Six, activist Fallon Wilson and a small group of women organized the now annual Be Bold Be Red campaign to ensure that injustices against women of color wouldn’t fall to the backburner.
During the month of October 2007, the campaign’s site received over 70,000 hits as women shared their stories, held gatherings, wore red and rallied. Out of this grew the seeds of the Cyber-quilting Experiment, which was rolled out at the Allied Media Conference.
“One of our focuses is on marginalized women of color, women who don’t have access to technology, who don’t have the resources or time to connect with each other,” explains Nieves. “This doesn’t mean that cyber-quilting is only for women of color. We can’t do it alone.”
It might be tempting to say something cliché like it’s “not your grandmother’s quilting.” But here’s the twist. Cyber-quilting emphasizes history and those who came before. Cyber-quilters value the “stitching” together of stories to build an intergenerational movement. There’s active outreach to both older and younger generations.
Which works beautifully when considering that violence is an intergenerational process. Personal and societal narratives reflect the power of the intergenerational transmission of trauma, oppression and victimization.
Cyber-quilting is active in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Durham, and Washington D.C., with projects getting off the ground in Fayetteville, NC, Portland, and New York City. Looking forward, the Cyber-quilting Experiment has a goal to be in all 50 states and of eventually going international.
Photo by moon angel, shared under a Creative Commons license