Just before the final Monument Quilt display, FORCE hosted an evening of food, fellowship, music, and a space to honor some of the thousands of individuals who have contributed their time, money, resources, creative energy, and more to the Monument Quilt since its inception, at Whitelock Community Farm in May 2019. Through guidance, emotional support, calls for accountability, funding, time, energy, ideas, love, joy, and so much more, people in Baltimore as a collective community are the artists and architects behind the historic community effort, the Monument Quilt. As we approached the 50th and final display, we wanted to honor our roots and our home.
Free food was provided by MiLife Caterers; herbal medicine by Amethyst Botanical; and the event featured performances by Uni Q Mical, DZL MC and DJ Laila Snacks, all organized by Charnell Covert. Over 50 people attended the event.
The Quilt History honorees were Gloria Garrett, Deletta Gillespie, Katie Lauter, Brockett Horne, Joan Gaither, Saida Agostini, Mia Smith, Robbye Apperson, Doreen Bolger, Jane Brown, Twig George and Dave Pittenger, Jess Soloman, Sara Davis, Karen Taylor, Ami Dang, Serena Anderson, Angela Wharton, Krystal Mack, Brittany Oliver, Rhonda Robinson, Shawna Potter, Kiara James, Dan Staples, Monica Stevens, Eva Fury and volunteers Connie Zheng, Layla Gokcek, Kim Loper, Woudese Befikadu, LaBrea Pack, Emma Roalsvig, Kinsey Tyler, David Green, Julia Zeng, Thea Ferdinand, Fernando Osuna Martinez, Diana Liu, Yael Bloom, Kate, Ariana Vilchis, Samantha Ho, Rosalind Robinson, Glenda Richardson, Madison Trotman, and Caleen Kufera.
- Ama Chandra held space for FORCE as we formed Gather Together, leading the collective in our processional and healing space down North Avenue in 2016. Ama is a singer, songwriter and lead vocalist for “The Fruition Experience.” She wrote a lullaby for the Monument Quilt which is our anthem to this day, “You are not alone. We are here together. Gather Together. You are not alone.”
- Ami Dang has mobilized donors to give to the Monument Quilt since it launched in 2013, raising thousands of dollars. She is a South Asian-American musician, composer, and development consultant based in Baltimore. “This project speaks to me because it compels people to address the issue with their communities, in public spaces, and provides a platform for survivors to heal with others.”
- Angela D. Wharton co-organized the 2014 display of the Monument Quilt on Federal Hill. She is an Author, Inspirational Speaker, Women’s Advocate and the Founder of Phynyx Ministries. She worked to pass the Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act and is currently working on rape kit legislation. “As a Survivor of sexual assault, serving our community has been very therapeutic and has given me the opportunity to be a face of hope for other survivors.” Portrait by Maria Iannone.
- Brittany Oliver is civil and women’s rights advocate, strategist and communications professional based in Baltimore. Named as “20 Black Women You Should Be Following Right Now” by Bitch Media and “Top 25 Women to Watch” by the Baltimore Sun she has worked in social justice for several years focusing in policy, communications and advocacy. Brittany founded Not Without Black Women, a grassroots advocacy organization that focuses on black women’s issues and ending gender violence in policy. “Being a part of FORCE has been one of the most challenging, yet transformative experiences of my life as both an advocate and survivor. Although movement building is not easy, it’s worth every minute to making sure we pave the way to building an abuse and rape free society forever.” Portrait by Miranda Zhang.
- Brockett Horne is the designer behind the Monument Quilt logo, and many of the print materials that help visitors navigate the Monument Quilt and access resources with ease. She is a graphic designer and educator. She has volunteered for rape crisis interventions for over 20 years. Participating in the Monument Quilt has united many of my disconnected goals: design and activism, art and equity, listening and speaking, and leading and collaborating.
- Dan Staples has created every one of FORCE’s websites, beginning with the Pink Loves Consent spoof of Victoria’s Secret back in 2012. He is a technologist, activist, and information security professional. He currently works at the National Network of Abortion Funds, and is the co-founder and lead technologist for the police accountability group Open Justice Baltimore. “Being part of the Monument Quilt project has meant being part of an historical movement for consent, dignity, and healing.”
- Deletta Gillespie has been a part of the Monument Quilt since the very beginning of the project, when she joined in with the first workshop at the Spiritual Empowerment Center in Baltimore. Deletta is a multi-disciplinary teaching and performing artist, playwright, singer/songwriter, and recording artist. Gillespie discovered a passion for creating performances and programs that inspire and evoke courageous conversations on challenging issues. Her stage debut came in her mother’s nightclub act at age six, and she’s been on and around the stage ever since! Thank you Deletta, for bringing your incredible gifts to the Monument Quilt for all of these years.
- Doreen Bolger has championed the Monument Quilt since it began, as she does for so many artists in Baltimore. She is a retired Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art where she served as the leader for 17 years. An art historian and former curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she has also been a dedicated participant in and supporter of Baltimore’s incredibly vibrant art scene. “For a long time now, so many of us have been inspired by how FORCE has elevated survivors, directing public attention to the thorny issues they face as they seek healing.”
- Eva Fury donates not only their time designing beautiful reports that tell the story of FORCE each year, but also mobilizes money for our movement, teaching us how to be more effective fundraisers. She grew up in Seattle, WA, and earned a BA in Studio Art from Bard College. She is an artist and a youth ultimate frisbee coach. Among other positions, Eva has recently worked as a graphic designer, a legal assistant, a substitute teacher, and an afterschool program leader. She is passionate about working with themes of social justice, youth empowerment, art making, and athletic activity. Eva believes that good design comes from community-centered collaboration and intersectional analysis.
- Gloria Garrett : In 2017, Gloria Garrett, a Baltimore-based artist known as the Mother of Make-Up Art organized Monument Quilt workshops with elders in Baltimore. “I am a artist, storyteller, poet, author, and entertainer. I have been teaching recycled art workshops to senior citizens in Baltimore City and performing holiday, spiritual and music programs for more than 20 years. I felt like I was helping the women in my community by making their mothers, grandmothers, and even great grandmothers aware of the problems of abuse in this country.” Portrait by Miranda Zhang.
- Jane Brown is President of the Robert W Deutsch Foundation. She is very proud to have had the opportunity to support FORCE and the evolution of the Monument Quilt since 2013.
- Jess Solomon has been an incredible supporter of FORCE over the years, by offering her advice, support, and guidance. She is a facilitator, strategist, and instigator of arts and social change projects. “My involvement with FORCE has been almost a patchwork quilt itself, from facilitator, to thought-partner, to cheerleader.” Portrait by Maria Iannone.
- Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither taught the co-founders of the Monument Quilt about community quilting all the way back in 2008. Joan is a native Baltimorean with a history of helping to integrate local schools and businesses during the Civil Rights Movement. She is a prolific quilter who dedicated 44 years to education. Her art practice is a space for telling her own story, telling the stories of others, and ﬁnally helping others to ﬁnd and tell their own stories. Portrait by Maria Iannone.
- Katie Lautar is one of the volunteers who wrote the workshop guide, which helped hundreds if not thousands of people create their Monument Quilt square. Katie has spent most of her life promoting social justice and social change in Baltimore where she was born and raised. She currently works preserving the forests and green spaces of Baltimore and is refining her skills as a painter, poet, and singer-song writer. “It is amazing to see the Monument Quilt project continue to change and grow beyond what we envisioned.”
- Karen Taylor brought the Monument Quilt to many survivors through her work as a clinical social worker specializing in trauma, who has dedicated her career to serving survivors of sexual assault and abuse. She believes deeply in the project of The Monument Quilt and has personally experienced its ability to promote healing as both a participant and a witness.
- Krystal Mack powerfully shared her story through the Monument Quilt, and has since contributed her incredible gift of beautiful and delicious food with fellow survivors. “I am a Visual & Culinary Artist, Creative Consultant, and Writer. My work focuses on food at the intersection of emotion and consumption. The Monument Quilt has been so many things to me. It was my first contributing to a community art piece. It was my first time I publicly acknowledged my assault. It was the first time I felt I truly had a voice and felt free.” Portrait by Maria Iannone.
- Mia Musa. In 2015, Mia led a series of Monument Quilt workshops with young people in Baltimore, planting the seeds for the community organizing work in Baltimore which is Mia is an educator, curator, organizer and mother of 3. In 2014 she co-founded “Invisible Majority”, a creative and business service agency that pushes toward a more equitable and sustainable creative economy for Baltimore. Portrait by Miranda Zhang
- Monica Yorkman led workshops to memorialize trans women of color to include in the Monument Quilt, and also led healing workshops for survivors about self love in our Baltimore studio. Monica is a 65 year-old African American woman of transgender experience native Baltimorean. Parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, and mother of many. Poetess, short story writer, music maker and story teller. Founder of Sistas of the “t” and co-founder of The Baltimore Transgender Alliance. Most of all, the daughter of Charles and Doris Yorkman, two of the greatest people who ever lived. Radical activists before their time who instilled in her all the principles she lives by; they live through her in her work and in her life. In fact, those who knew her mother says she is her mom’s spittin’ image! Her favorite saying comes from Ernest Holmes: “In order to make a better world, I have to become a better person in the world.” It is her credo and drives her passion in life.
- Rhonda Robinson drove the Monument Quilt clear across the US in 2017. She is a jazz vocalist/flutist who performs at clubs, festivals, schools and events all over the Baltimore-Washington region, having opened for poet/activist Amiri Baraka and Blue Ark Ensemble, having honored legendary Baltimore jazz vocalist, Ethel Ennis and as the featured vocalist for over 7 years at Jazz Vespers in Govans. Her ensemble was also selected to play for Billie Holiday’s 100th birthday celebration. Rhonda feels as though she “won the lottery” when she was selected in spring 2017 for the Monument Quilt Western Tour to see our beautiful country and meet many beautiful, dedicated volunteers and activists.
- Robbye Apperson has supported FORCE by donating and spreading the word to more people. She is a visionary and cultural activist. She was the second child born to a military family, which traveled extensively throughout the United States after having spent her first her first three years of life in Tokyo. A 35-year resident of Baltimore City, has authored seven short plays, and two manuscripts of poetry. Portrait by Miranda Zhang
- Saida Agostini was a part of FORCE’s staff collective from 2016-2018; she is responsible for FORCE becoming a collective, by creating the structure and the groundwork for us to me a more accountable organization from the inside out. Saida is a poet, researcher, and movement builder. Her career has been dedicated to creating spaces for Black queer communities that use storytelling as an act of healing and resistance. “As a survivor of abuse, spaces like the Monument Quilt are necessary sites of healing. I am so grateful for its unabashed joy and urgency, and for all of the hands that have blessed this beautiful work.”
- Sara Davis helped FORCE shape the Monument Quilt into a project that could be healing for youth survivors. She is a clinical social worker at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “Partnering with the Monument Quilt has been some of the most powerful work of my life. I have witnessed teenagers find the strength to tell their stories for the first time and grandmothers find ways to make meaning out of what happened to them as children to ensure that their grandchildren know the power of their voices.”
- Serena Anderson is a Baltimore native who is committed to volunteering and using her artistic sewing skills to make a difference locally. Serena has been part of the Monument Quilt by creating her own quilt and involving the Women’s Group at Paul’s Place in the project as well. This project is so important to Serena because of her lived experience with childhood sexual abuse. This quilt encourages and empowers women and survivors to speak up and know that they are not alone. Portrait by Maria Iannone.
- Shawna Potter is an activist, an author, and an educator. She founded the Baltimore chapter of Hollaback!, wrote “Making Spaces Safer: A Guide to Giving Harassment the Boot Wherever You Work, Play, and Gather,” and fronts the feminist punk band War On Women. “Culture jamming is my jam! I felt a real connection to the way FORCE has disrupted the way people think about rape culture and it’s survivors, especially when they started.” Portrait by Miranda Zhang
- Twig George and Dave Pittenger support the Monument Quilt through the gifts of time and money. Dave worked at the National Aquarium for 30 years, 15 of which he was director . After retiring in 2011 he has served on the board of Blue Water Baltimore, and the Tuerk House. He has also worked for Free State Legal Project, the Ocean Conservancy and Baltimore Nonprofits. Twig is the author of 4 children’s books about marine animals and the co-author of two others. She recently retired as K-2 librarian at the Park School. She continues to run elementary writing workshops and speak locally about science and nature. “By working on the quilt I feel like I am honoring all of the survivors in a small way.”