Sections of the quilt will be witnessed across the United States through a tour, quilt-making workshops, and a historic display in our nation’s capitol. Blanketing over one mile of the National Mall, thousands of fabric squares will be stitched together to spell “NOT ALONE.” The Monument Quilt gives churches, schools, towns, and our country clear and accessible steps to support survivors of rape and abuse when, often, people don’t know where to begin. Through public recognition, the quilt reconnects survivors to their community.
Over the past year, Force started to travel to do workshops. We’ve met people working to end rape as college students, activists, crisis counselors and community organizers from L.A. to Vermont. When we connect with people on the Internet, rarely do we come to understand the uniqueness of their community and the radically varying needs therein. When we connect with people in person, that depth of understanding happens almost automatically. The Monument Quilt is designed to be adapted, to travel and change. We are excited to see how radically different the Monument Quilt will be in every community that uses it. And we are excited to see how those differences and connections shape a national conversation about supporting survivors of rape and abuse.
The goal of Force’s work is to start conversations. Difficult and controversial conversations are more likely to arrive at a fruitful place of understanding in person than online. We need the messages that are going viral on the Internet to come from multiple, varying, and sometimes oppositional viewpoints. For rape to end, we don’t just need people who think like us to participate in the process, we need everyone. This includes people who do not share our worldview. Our allies in this struggle may only share the basic belief that rape is wrong. On-the-ground organizing has the potential to engage people who would not engage online. On-the-ground organizing has the potential to engage people outside of leftist, feminist, and progressive Internet communities. And to us, that feels like a necessary next step.
With all the possibilities of physical space, most people will continue to interact with The Monument Quilt online. We’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater and dismissing the amazing organizing power of the Internet. We’re utilizing the Internet for a project that not only uses multiple tactics but operates on multiples levels.
Last week, Force launched a new website for the project. TheMonumentQuilt.org is an online platform and hub of resources for people who want to engage with the Quilt. The website is bilingual in English and Spanish. Amongst all the resources, you can find instructional videos demonstrating how to make a quilt square using spray paint or sewing together a patchwork. Those interested in making a quilt square can find online and printable instructions. The site also contains self-care tips and resources for survivors. On an interactive map, you can find upcoming events near you and even register your own. We want to both empower and take care of the people who engage in the project. We want to give people across the country the tools they need to bring the power and the impact of the Monument Quilt to their lives and their community. With the new TheMonumentQuilt.org, all those resources are in one place.