Monument Quilt History Series: Kalima Young

In honor of Black History/Herstory Month, FORCE seeks the publicly recognize the contributions Black leaders have had in the creation and execution of our biggest project, The Monument Quilt. Today we honor Dr. Kalima Young, activist and educator who was a part of visioning the Monument Quilt before it existed and currently is a part of our Leadership Team.
When the project was first being imagined in 2013, Kalima was consulted on how it could incorporate and remember the lessons of the Names Project — the giant quilt last displayed on the National Mall in 1996 to honor victims of AIDS. The Monument Quilt continues in the legacy of the Names Project, and Kalima’s academic studies have been focused on public engagement with trauma stories, making her an incredibly valuable expert voice in the project since before the beginning.
At the first Monument Quilt display in Federal Hill in 2014, Kalima was in charge of the Women of Color Intentional Space. She considers spaces like these key in engaging with trauma: “You need to have intentional spaces for folks who experience gender-based and sexual violence in specific ways.” After organizing and holding that space, Kalima was asked to join FORCE’s Leadership Team. With the rest of the Intentional Spaces Team within the Leadership Team, Kalima has continued her work visioning intentional spaces for within the Monument Quilt Culminating Display that attendees will be able to experience themselves.
We asked Kalima what she’s proud of in her involvement with the Monument Quilt, and what keeps her coming back. “What I feel the most good about is that I think I have been able to collaborate in grounded and intentional kindness in this large project. To be a part of that and be one of the people always looking at how we can be kind to each other and ourselves feels good. This is important work and it’s part of my life ministry. To be able to express it through collaborating on this project with all these lovely people over the years has been an eye opening and transformative experience for me.”
Kalima’s expertise, kindness, thoughtfulness, and groundedness have made the Monument Quilt what it is today, and will make the Culminating Display a space where we honor many unique survivor experiences.
Above: Kalima facilitating intentional healing space for women of color at the 2014 Monument Quilt display in Baltimore. Photo by Brittany Oliver.