I designed These Truths during the summer of 2020 when George Floyd’s senseless death replayed on cable news. The officer’s knee pressed against Floyd’s neck became emblematic of America’s painful perpetuation of racial injustices.
Floyd’s invocation of his deceased mother and his unheeded pleas–“I can’t breathe”– gave new life to Black Lives Matter. In a global pandemic, multiracial protestors filled streets to demand a reckoning, and voters responded with their ballots. It was as if the experiences of Black and Brown people finally got imprinted on America’s White conscience.
While making These Truths, I felt the weight of history–the pain and perseverance of individuals with skin tones different than mine. I learned about American abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman and other women activists of the Civil Rights Movement including Ella Baker, Daisy Bates, Septima Poinsette Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height, Diane Nash, and Jo Ann Robinson. I internalized their legacies and questioned my own.
With the promise of new leadership under President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, “equality” and “justice for all” have a chance of becoming more than democratic ideals. They must become our truth.
(All photographs in this post are mine. Please do not use them without my permission.)
(I appreciate quilt holder and organizer/activist Chelsea Carrier’s assistance with this post.)