45,000! It’s a huge number to contemplate. On an average day in 2019, some 45,000 detainees were held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. How do you visualize that? How do you memorialize each one of those individuals?
Glen Ring, a member of the Human Rights Group of the Kent Street Coalition in Concord, New Hampshire, had an idea. “I thought that a huge quilt with a mark for each detained person would capture viewers’ attention,” she said. From that idea in July 2020, over 60 concerned artists and activists from 12 states and Oaxaca, Mexico, joined forces to create a quilt to illustrate the sheer enormity of immigration detention.
The completed quilt consists of six 9-by-9-foot panels, comprising 45 quilt squares with each square containing 1,000 marks to represent 1,000 people in detention. Panels have been painted, stamped, quilted, embroidered, or prepared using a combination of methods.
The 45,000 Quilt is an artistic project that evokes the famous AIDS Quilt. It gets people thinking and communicating “about humanity and people treating people humanely,” says Ring.
Exhibition of the Quilt in Charlotte County is the idea of Vielka Wambold, a local immigration activist, and it is being supported by the Universal Universalist Fellowship, Charlotte Harbor Council of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Indivisible Action Southwest Florida, All Rainbow and Allied Youth, Inc. (ARAY), the Spanish American Society, and the Charlotte County Democrats.
Everyone is invited to view the quilt in a masked and socially distanced outdoor setting at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center at 210 Maud Street in Punta Gorda, FL 33950 on April 16, 17, and 18 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Image Credits: Hal Trejo/ARAY