On Wednesday, February 1, the Friends Select community welcomed a traveling Black Lives Matter Quilt from the Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (CPMM) of Friends. Each square of the quilt represents a victim of gun violence in African American neighborhoods of Philadelphia from January through April 2016.
The quilt was unveiled during middle and upper school Meeting for Worship and then brought over to the school where it was on display, inspiring teaching and discussions across all divisions. At the start of Meeting for Worship, Grace Gonglewski, clerk of the First Day School of CPMM, presented the quilt to Friends Select and said some words about its significance. Following her remarks, the upper school Black Student Union introduced the following queries:
- How can we make sure that all social and human rights movements, including the Black Lives Matter movement, are inclusive in our strides toward equity?
- How do you distinguish the fight for human rights versus the fight for minorities?
- Does Black Lives Matter disregard the notion that all lives matter?
- How do you separate stereotypes from the face of a movement, and how can you see the truth through what's presented in the media?
The Black Lives Matter Quilt was created by the First Day School of the Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting of Friends. Over several months, children designed the squares and worked with cloth, needles and thread, and fabric markers to create a memorial to each person. Several middle school students from Friends Select, who attend CPMM, created squares for the quilt. The squares were in Friends Select @1700 for about a month last spring, and art students were invited to transfer the news clippings to fabric and then sew them on.