the 70273 project card for instagram

You’ve cleared your space – your physical, mental, emotional, and digital space – making way for something new, for possibility. You’ve pondered, journaled, and meditated . . . you know what you want your 2016 to look like. You know what you will do. You will lose weight, finish books, make 3 quilts. You’ve made your plans and are prepared to stick to them. You are in control of your life for the first time in I don’t know how long, and it feels good. Real good.

Then one night in mid-January, you stitch Nancy’s drawings while watching a multi-part documentary with your husband and your daughter, and just like that – within a space of 4-7 minutes – out go the best laid plans, the slate is cleared, your life is changed . . . 

Between January 1940 and August 1941, 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people – men, women, teens, boys, and girls – were murdered by the Nazis. Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed “unfit” or an “economic burden on society”, the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file, and when two of them made a red X on the page, the disabled person’s fate was sealed. Most were murdered within hours.

I will commemorate these 70,273 voiceless, powerless people who were so callously and casually murdered by gathering 70,273 blocks of white fabric (representing innocence and the paper the doctors read), each bearing two red X’s (representing one person), and I will stitch them together into quilts. 

The Engineer’s first comment? “I don’t think you realize how big that is.”

My response? Oh yes I do. I want this to be so big, so immense that people cannot look away, cannot say they didn’t see it.

Am I crazy? Maybe. But Bones say I can’t not do this. I can’t change history – can’t unring that bell – but I can commemorate the lives of these 70,273 disabled people in this small way.

Now I’ve done the math, and there’s no way I can do this by myself, so I’m asking for your help. You don’t have to have ever held a piece of fabric except to button or zip it. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting instructional posts and videos to show you different techniques you can use to make a block.

There are all sorts of other ways to get involved besides making blocks. Head here to read and get idea kindling. If something else comes to mind, please let me know.

This is a project that will unfold as it unfolds, and it will unfold here, at this digital address. I’ll be adding ideas, instructions, and inspiration. I’ll be profiling people who’ve stepped up to collaborate. I’ll run into something and ask for help. I’ll be showing the blocks as they come in and the quilts as they are stitched. If you don’t want to miss anything (and trust me: you don’t), subscribe to receive the 70273 project updates (note: if you’ve already subscribed to the blog, there’s no need to subscribe to receive project updates because you already receive anything that’s posted here, so you’ll get them.)

How can you jump in and get started?

  1. Share this post in all your social media outlets. (And please don’t just share it once. Share it as often as you will.)
  2. Make a block and send it to me.
  3. Subscribe so you don’t miss a single thing.

And hey, see those social media buttons in the upper right sidebar? Click on them to find me around e-town and keep up with project updates there, too.