I’m struggling with words. Pain so fresh that is not my own. Pain that has been occurring under 400 years of oppression that white people cannot begin to understand. I’m angry with myself for not being more vocal about racial injustices sooner, but I am still learning. And I have so much to learn about how to be an ally. It’s difficult to amplify the voices of people’s struggles when they’re not your own, which is why it’s absolutely critical that we begin listening to POC without ego.
In a small act to try to be a better ally, I am donating 100% of the winning bid for the Gee’s Bend Inspired face mask to Baltimore Action Legal Team . “BALT provides legal support to Baltimore communities as they exercise their civil liberties protesting against injustices rooted in structural racism and economic inequality.”
The inspiration for this mask is the First Lady’s portrait. When it was first revealed, the inspiration of the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers struck me. Amy Sherald, the portrait artist, perfectly captured the soul of Gee’s Bend in the Milly dress Mrs. Obama was wearing.
If you’re unfamiliar with Gee’s Bend, there is an excellent article from 1999 called “Crossing Over.” An excerpt:
“Gee’s Bend is where the Civil War came and went, but the slaves stayed, and their children stayed, and their grandchildren stayed, and their great-grandchildren, and so on, until today, Mary Lee and 700 of her kin cling to this bulb of bottom land that their ancestors were chained to. They bear the surnames of the last slaveholders to live here. They grow corn near the slaveholders’ headstones. They come and go amid the ghosts and dust devils that dance on the site of the old Big House.”
Mary Lee, the subject of the Crossing Over article, is one of the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers.
The human spirit has always amazed me with the beauty that is created from such painful experiences. You can see the soul in each of the Gee’s Bend quilts