Social Justice Sewing Academy | Quilts of Remembrance

"Wings for Michael Brown" for SJSA Remembrance Project by Hazel Monte

 Social Justice
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Founded in 2017 by Sara Trail, the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is a youth education program that bridges artistic expression with activism to advocate for social justice. Through a series of hands-on workshops in schools, prisons and community centers across the country, SJSA empowers youth to use textile art as a vehicle for personal transformation and community cohesion and become agents of social change.


Turn condolences into action!

Quilts of Remembrance

Make a memorial quilt for families who have lost a loved one to violence, honoring the loss of human life and ensuring that families who receive a quilt know that they are supported and their loved one will never be forgotten. 

Quilts of Remembrance is a textile memorial for families who have lost a loved one to violence. They are intended to reflect the life of the person by creating a quilt using textiles donated by their family. Your participation allows for the families of the honoree to receive a quilt that celebrates the life of their loved one and that brings our community together in support of a shared mission of social justice. 

SJSA Remembrance Project

Make a memorial block in honor of victims of violence and help to provide activist art banners for local and national activist organizations who have requested creative statements to be publicly displayed.

SJSA Remembrance Project is a quilt block community art project that will represent solidarity as well as remembrance. This partnership will create a visual statement to memorialize those who have been unjustly murdered by police, racial vigilantism, or as a result of their gender, sexual orientation and other forms of identity politics. These artivism blocks will honor the lives of individuals through symbolism and portrait. Their names and identities will be displayed during community activism events reminding the world that their lives mattered.

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Quilts of Remembrance

First, go to Social Justice Sewing Academy and join the Quilts of Remembrance where you will sign up. How it will work:

1. Makers will be assigned full quilts or individual steps in the creation of the quilts based on information you submit. Makers will be contacted via email to confirm each task before being sent projects.

2. SJSA will mail the memento fabrics (clothing articles - t-shirts, jerseys, jeans, pj pants, etc) of the honoree to assigned makers. Please treat them with care as they were hand-picked by the family.

3. Lap-sized quilts are ideal (36-40 inches x 45-48 inches - larger is fine but no smaller.) The finished quilt is for the families to have around for everyday use. ​

4. If photos are provided, we will attempt to create photo labels with the help of volunteers.

5. Once the completed quilt is back with SJSA, we’ll pack it for delivery to the family.

SJSA Remembrance Project

Participate in the SJSA Remembrance Project where you will be assigned a name and create a single quilt block. How it will work:

SJSA will send you the name of an individual who was murdered in a politically or racially motivated manner. You will design and create an un-quilted memorial block to finish at 20”x24” (unfinished 21”x25)


1. Keep the contrast between the name and your background high.

2. While the name is mandatory we encourage you to learn more about the individual and include symbolism.

3. The name must be included in a way that it can be read from a distance.

4. Orientation of the block should be portrait (20” wide x 24” tall finished)

5. Do not quilt the block but feel free to embroider, appliqué, use fusible interfacing or glue (as long as all fabric pieces are secured to the block)
6. The blocks will be assembled into banners to be used by community organizations in public demonstrations as they work to bring attention to the injustices faced by people and communities of color.

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Please contact Kimberly Russell at Social Justice Sewing Academy for questions and information regarding these projects.

Additional Resources:

The Anti-Racist Guidebook is a reference created by SJSA volunteers for the SJSA community. Within these chapters, authors share their personal experiences with social justice and provide research on various topics from transformative justice to the history of housing discrimination. Each chapter also includes a reflective activity to facilitate deeper engagement with the material.

Click HERE for a bit of SJSA curriculum used in some workshops. Email us if you could like to get a train-the-trainer lesson or some custom video links sent your way.

All photos provided by Social Justice Sewing Academy