Joan Epstein andAnnique Boomsma: 45,000 Quilt on display at Edwards Church

Published: 9/14/2021 8:23:36 AM

All of us at Jewish Activists for Immigration Justice were grateful to read reporter Bera Dunau’s article about our immigration justice ritual Sunday and Eduardo Samaniego’s return to the U.S. in time to share his moving story at the event. (‘I need to make something out of this,’ Sept. 13)

We were thrilled that our event gave us an opportunity to welcome Eduardo back to the area. But we need to update one omission — the purpose of the event was as an opening welcome for the 45,000 Quilt, on exhibit at Edwards Church from 2-5 p.m. daily through Thursday, Sept. 16. The event was planned well before we knew Eduardo would be returning to western Massachusetts.

A joint project of more than 60 artists and activists from around the U.S., the quilts are a beautiful, moving and powerful set of six 9-by-9-foot tapestries, each with nine 3-by-3-foot squares to remind people that immigration justice is still a crucial human rights issue. Each square contains 1,000 marks representing a total of 45,000: the average number (in 2019) of individuals incarcerated in detention only because they fled for their lives.

Artists shaped their marks into trees, a U.S. map, portraits of immigrants, butterflies and more. We encourage anyone who can see the exhibit between now and Thursday to have a look. There is information alongside the quilt, and JAIJ will have members present to answer questions.

Joan Epstein

Annique Boomsma

Jewish Activists
for Immigration Justice




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