Maywood Youths Create Quilts for Non-Violence

Friday, December 8, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Jemena Johnson and her brother hold up their anti-violence illustrations during a quilt-making project on Dec. 2 in Maywood. | Michael Romain /VFP 

Jemena Johnson, 7, has a novel concept, which she painted out on a poster as part of a collaborative arts project initiated by local community groups.

“I put the guns in the trash,” Johnson said, explaining her illustration, which will be merged with other illustrations in a patchwork fashion to create a quilt.

Quilts_Barbara Cole

Barbara Cole and Dwayne Jordan hold up Jordan’s illustration on Dec. 2. | Michael Romain

Johnson was among at least two dozen young people who gathered at the Maywood Multipurpose Building, 200 S. 5th Ave. in Maywood, on Dec. 2 to create the life-sustaining messages meant to crowd out the despair brought on by gun violence.

The quilt-making project was organized by Women In Need Of Discovering Our Worth (Window), Maywood Youth Mentoring and the Vision Quilt project.


Gia Alexandria Long works on her illustration, an ankh, the ancient Egyptian symbol of life. | Michael Romain 

“We’re trying to connect and collaborate so we can build unity in the community,” said Barbara Cole, Maywood Youth Mentoring’s founder and executive director.

According to Valerie Goodloe, the founder of Window and the lead organizer of last Saturday’s quilt-making event, said that she was inspired to lead the project by the Vision Quilt project.

Vision Quilt is a nonprofit organization that facilitates quilt-making initiatives meant to empower “communities to create their own solutions to gun violence through the power of art and inclusive dialogue,” according to its website.

Quilts_Barbara Cole and child

Barbara Cole with Kylee Morris, 5, as she works on her illustration during the Dec. 2 quilt-making event. | Michael Romain 

“I thought this was a good idea that I can incorporate into what I do because I think collaboration has to happen among organizations,” Goodloe said.

“That’s why I’m here with Barbara,” she added. “In today’s world, every time you turn on the news, we see gun violence. This is an opportunity for young people to release what’s inside of them and descriptively show why guns are no good.”

Goodlow said that the quilt can be hung in schools, police departments, city halls or can travel from one place to the next. VFP 

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