Tag: 70273 anniversary

Happy Fourth Birthday to Us!

Pairs of red X’s cover a white cloth

Quilt 31

Pairs of red X’s on a white quilt

Quilt 652

Pairs of red X’s on backgrounds of white

72 Blocks made by Alida Palmisano

Four years ago today, I gave myself the best birthday present ever when I mashed the “publish” button and launched The 70273 Project. What an incredible, amazing, astonishing four years it has been.

Looking Back

Our first blocks came from Kitty Sorgen less than 2 weeks of that first post. News of the project spread like wildfire, confirming that the kind, compassionate people in the world outnumber the bad folks, something I’d long suspected. Three days later, Margaret Williams did some experimenting and tutorials. And we were off! Throughout the four years, we received blocks from quilt guilds, schools, churches, families, and communities around the world.

Our first major European exhibit – in Lacaze, France, curated by Katell Renon and Cecile Milhau – was a mere 16 months after launch.  We’ve had exhibits literally around the world –  in Munich, Celle, and Dachau Germany, Durham Cathedral (U.K.); Rochester Cathedral (U.K.); the Channel Islands, throughout America, in Canada, Scotland, at the International Quilt Festival, in Charleville, France (I can’t wait to tell you more about this one!) curated by Annie Labruyere, and many more I’ve not yet written about. But I will.

Our quilts have been on exhibit – which means our stories have been told –  literally around the world. Working together with hundreds of thousands of people, we’ve made the world smaller and become friends – often dear friends – with people on the other side of the globe from us. We’ve made the world a kinder, more compassionate place.

Now and When

I would like to be able to tell you exactly how many block and quilts we have today, but the truth of the matter is that I’m behind on the record keeping side of the project. As y’all may know, The Engineer and I were home only 4 non-consecutive weeks in 2018 while traveling for The 70273 Project (a big bouquet of gratitude to everyone who made it such an amazing, memorable year). Then in 2019 I was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration, and took what amounts to an unscheduled sabbatical as I surrendered to the depression that followed.

I am delighted to tell you that we are learning to live together, my new vision and I, and though I still have my low vision/low spirit days, I now feel ready to push up my sleeves and lead us to the finish line. And just like in the very beginning when I asked for help because I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not commemorate these 70,273 precious souls without assistance, I am going to need help to get us to the Finish Line.

When I put out the call on 14 February 2016, y’all responded immediately with great enthusiasm and dedication. In the coming weeks, I will once again be posting Help Needed opportunities. I thank you in advance for stepping up and stepping in to help complete our commemorations in ways that will allow these important stories to continue to be told throughout the land and to ensure that those we commemorate and those we celebrate are never forgotten or overlooked again.

One Thing You Can Do Today

Yesterday I opened registration for the online life story writing gathering I’m offering called Keepsake Writers. We’ll gather weekly beginning 09 March 2020 to capture and preserve our life stories. I hope you’ll join in and create something  you and future generations will treasure. If you can’t participate right now, perhaps you’d be willing to share the link with your friends and family in case they are interested. All proceeds go directly into The 70273 Project to help fund the things I’ll be telling you about soon.

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Celebrating Our Third Birthday With a Block Count Update

white cloth with two red X's on top

Where it all started: Block 1

Three years ago, I had a  big, fat, crazy idea to commemorate the 70,273 disabled people murdered between January 1940 and August 1941 under a program called Aktion T4, Knowing I’d think myself out of it if I didn’t move quickly, I got a few things done then  mashed the send button on a blog post. Here we are, three years later, with a shiny new block count update that I think is gonna’ make y’all smile real big.

When people ask me how this all got started, I tell them the truth: I planted a field of digital dreams . . . a.k.a. wrote a blog post, sent it out, and y’all came, your arms filled with love, compassion, kindness, and pairs of red X’s.

For the past three years, tens of thousands of us from 140 or more countries have come together, sharing the stories from our lives and the tears of our hearts. We have forged deep, lasting friendships that transcend cultural, geographical, and language differences and distances. We find that we have much more in common than what separates us, and we now know with absolute certainty that there is more goodness, more kindness, more compassion in every corner of the world than there is hate. We have proven that love and respect makes it possible to love and learn from those whose lives are not the same as ours. This is big, y’all. This is big.

So is our new block count.

Drum roll please . . .

I am honored to know y’all and tickled beyond words to tell you that as of today, the block count for The 70273 Project stands at . . .

72,055 

You read that right: in just three years, The 70273 Project has commemorated 72,055 people. I hope you’ll take a minute to let this seep in, get your heart around it, then share your responses and reactions. I also hope you’ll know how hugely grateful I am to each and every one of you. Like I said in my first blog post about this big, fat, crazy idea: I could never do it by myself.

Here are a few pictures of the quilt that took us across the goal line:

A Middling by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers commemorating 5500 people (Better pictures to come)

Closeup of the Middling by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

I know y’all like the back of my hand by now, and I can hear you asking these good questions:

But we’ve commemorated more than 70,273 people . . .?

I know, I know. It’s rather stunning right now, isn’t it? Here’s my answer to the question that will eventually form into coherent words: Though we don’t have a firm count, we know that there were far more than 70,273 disabled people murdered during World War II. Some estimations as high as 300,000. The reality is that I cannot store an infinite number of quilts, but for now, it’s as simple as this: we keep stitching; we keep sharing; we keep honoring.

What if I still have blocks to send? What if I haven’t finished my quilt? What if our group is planning to make a quilt?

You keep stitching and send them to me just like always. (Note: I will soon be adding a Checklist for Sending Quilts to the web site, so stay tuned for that.)

Will you continue to hold Block Drives, do presentations, attend Special Exhibits?

Oh you bet I will. I have been asked to take The 70273 Project to college campuses, museums, quilt shows, and all sorts of gatherings this year and beyond, and I continue to say “Yes!” So if your group, church, school, scout troop, organization, college or university, or most any other kind of gathering would like me to visit with quilts in hand and stories in the heart,  let me know. i’m delighted to be asked and welcome the opportunity. And I’ll continue showing up with block making materials at every presentation so folks can stitch while I talk and to host block drives before and after my presentation. We’ll do just like we’ve always done: turn the blocks into a quilt bearing the name of your organization on the label.

What now? What’s next?

We’re not done yet, but today we celebrate each other, the people we commemorate, and what can happen when good people join together for a good reason. More to come, so keep your eye here on the blog so you don’t miss a thing.

Um, you promised party favors?

I sure did, and here they are. These ready-to-share-in-social-media badges were created by 70273 Project Ambassador Sarah Jespersen Lauzon, so help yourself. We have them in English, French, and German.

(On a Mac,  command key, click on image, select desired destination. On a pc, right click on the image and select your desired destination.)

Here they are in English:

In French:

And in German:

Thank y’all again for rising to this monumental challenge. On we go to the next chapter.

~~~~~~~

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