Monday, September 19, 2016

Make quilts, not pipelines

I described the original inspiration of my last quilt, a crazy quilt, here.

Now I will describe the inspiration of its finishing, and its gifting. I was inspired by reading Kelly's blog post about making a quilt for friends of her cousins who live in Louisiana and lost everything in the flood. That post made me finally reach out a producer at our community radio station's sister station, WHYR in Baton Rouge. It turns out that his family lost everything, too.

So I had planned to finish that quilt for them. After all, it was in the Gee's Bend kind of style. But as I quilted through the jeans fabric, it seemed too heavy for the Deep South.

With the radio producer's blessing, I decided instead to give the quilt to a Pipeline Fighter who inspired me. Here in Iowa we are fighting the incursion of the same pipeline they are fighting in South Dakota. The Iowa Utilities Board (put in place by our corporate-cozy Gov) is allowing the company to use "eminent domain" to seize the land of farmers in its path. Some of those farmers have sued for damagees. That hasn't stopped the company from digging, digging, digging.

So, some of us Iowans have stood in front of pipeline building trucks, with the purpose of getting arrested.

The recipient of the quilt was one of those first 30. (There have been some 60 pipeline arrests since.)

And she had the graciousness to come onto my radio show and cry about acting out of a place of love. And not just cry, but say something very profound. She said that from the moment she stepped up to the block the trucks' access, she reflected on her whiteness. How nice the sherriff's deputies were, and how different it might be if she and her co-horts were black.

So my African American quilt went to Julia.

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