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October 2012

Greetings LQP People!

I hope all is well. By time we 'meet' again, we'll have voted for the next President of the United States. If you are anything like me, you are being inundated on a daily basis with messages from every portion of society, news, canvasers knocking on the door all the time, junk mail galore, 100 politically related emails this past week alone. The political beat goes on and on and on (Orbit 's tune is dancing in my head as I write this.)

While expecting some level of race bating to slide its way into US poltics, what I do find surprising is the outright blatant acts of racist imagery, discussion, stereo types and others that are on display. From several politicians stating that African Americans were lucky to be slaves to a legislator lynching a stand-in empty chair for President Obama to a store owner displaying an exhibit of our President as a witch doctor.

As such, you'll find this month's resource section loaded with articles that explore this question of politics and race. How these issues have manifested themselves over the past few months.

On the quilting front, the top for Quilt II will be completed by the end of the week. A little last minute adaptation was in order, but with that said, only 8 blocks of 144 remain and off it goes to be machine quilted. So, keep your fingers corssed that the grant comes through and this quilt will be completed by the end of the year. Construction of the top for Quilt IV will begin in early November.

And the garden continues to offer a wonderful balance of life as we move into canning for the season. Check out the photos of the seasons first canned cucumbers converted into relish.

I want to humbly say THANK YOU all for your continued support and for helping to build new roads towards a more tolerant and healed society.

So with that said, let us begin.


Quilt II: RedRum Summer 1919. Updated as of
October 10, 2012. Quilt top  more than 90% completed.
Quilt top size approximately 150 x 150 inches.



Melting the Butter Part II:
Laura, Lynching, You and Me

When one encounters the lynching rolls, what is astounding is the number of individuals listed as "Unknown" or "Unidentified." So, how did these people, mostly men, get caught up in events far from places where someone knows their name? That death would find them far from home and, that their final grave marker would be the cover of a postcard, their epitaph penned on an anonymous roll call of the dead, simply stating "Unknown Negro Male."
We know that during The Great Migration, approximately 6 million Blacks left the southern part of the United States to move to the Midwest, Northeast and West Coast states.  Not only did these brave men and women make this trek to flee the economic depravity of the share cropping system, but the tyranny of racial oppression known as Jim Crow of which lynching was one of its strongest forms of social control. My own family, now scattered from coast to coast and abroad, started this long dark journey north from Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. My great-grandfather left home around the age of 13. The son of share croppers in Mississippi he traveled north until he found a place where he could get a factory job, which to him meant a better life, education for his children, freedom from the cruelty of Jim Crow. My paternal grandparents took a similar journey when leaving Louisianna. 
His story is not unique and is in fact reflected in the millions who left the south for these reasons. But what would have happened to him, to my family, if somewhere along the line, looking for work in unfamiliar places he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time? Could he have become one of those anonymous names on a roll? Or, a face on a postcard without a name, a family to mourn his passing, honor his spirit?

 And what of the wives and children left behind by these unfortunate victims of hate? Children forced to grow up thinking that their father abandoned them, did not want or love them? When in fact Daddy died doing the thing Daddies in difficult situations must do each day all across the world past, present and future . . . leave home to find work.  

Generations impacted by this single act of violence. Generations abandoning children because in fact the initial seed for this dysfunction and communal destruction was planted in the thoughts when Daddy didn't phone home and was never heard from again. When hope of the better life Daddy's leaving promised . . . eventually began to extinguish?
And what of the families always wondering what happened to their loved one. Always searching to find out something to only come up against walls of silence, missing or misinformation? Or, to discover the gruesome truth that the one you loved died in an act of pure horror and rage, terrified and alone in the end.

And the women left behind, struggling to make ends meet, put food on the table, made more vulnerable in a world already hostile against them because of their skin and gender. Within these acts of violence lie the seeds of generational destruction. So, why is this story of Laura Nelson, this story of lies and lives lost, of not knowing, connected to you and me? Because this story IS the human story of pain, of loss, of stolen identity, of oppression and destruction.
Of the child who cries in the dark for the daddy who can't come home, and the woman alone and afraid in the world, of survival despite oppression, of hope born in darkness, of the search for lights at the end of the tunnel because you know there has got to be a better world than this. Of courage to try and forge a new future for self and those left behind. For standing up for your rights, for what is right when you the rewards are dubious and the ramifications a guarantee. Of the courage to head out into the unknown . . . knowing this world you now face is so often set against you 
. . . but you do it anyway.

As her story is yours and mine . . . as we embrace this as our own historical truth... we can begin to build a new world.

Click here to read the first installment of this article Melting the Butter Part I: Digging Deeper into the Past in the August 2012 newsletter.  


   Remix: Dialogue vs. Debate

Given we are being inundated with political messages non-stop these days, I think it is important that we remember the difference between dialouge vs. debate. While debate may be great for political office and pundits, for those of us working in our communities we MUST continue to push for constructive dialogues. As such, I bring back a favorite post from April of this year from the book The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subject.

This book definitely offered a practical approach to speaking about difficult subjects, which for me primarily focuses on addressing the history and ramifications of lynching and racial violence. One of s series of books published by Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Peacebuilding and Justice, these short books can be read in single day with many being around 100 pages or less.  

The true treasure of these books is that they offer practical hands-on tips on a variety of topics such as Restorative Justice, Restorative Discipline, Strategic Peace Building and so much more
.  In essence you can read these books and start applying some of the tactics discussed the next day. Presently, I am reading The LIttle Book of Trauma Healing and will share my insights with you once completed.
In regards to this text, one of the core principle of this book is to the need to understand the difference between a dialogue and other forms of communication, especially debate. As we all know when the topic gets heated it is easy to find yourself drawing a line in the sand and defending your ideological territory vs. actually having a meaningful exchange that allows all parties to grow, learn and create opportunities for healing. So, here are seven points to help you define how to have a dialgoue:
The goal is to 'win' the argument by affirming one's own views and discrediting other views. The goal is to understand different perspective and learn about other views.
People listen to others to find flaws in their arguments. People listen to others to understand how their experiences shape their beliefs.
People critique the experiences of other as distorted and invalid. People accept the experiences of others as real and valid.
People appear to be determined not to change their own views on the issue.
People appear to be somewhat open to expanding their understanding of the issue.
People speak based on assumptions made about others' positions and motivations. People speak primarily from their own understanding and experience.
People oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong. People work together toward common understanding.
Strong emotions like anger are often used to intimidate the other side. Strong emotions like anger and sadness are appropriate when they convey the intensity of an experience or belief.


Quilt II will be heading off to get quilted in the next couple of weeks. So now, attention has turned towards piecing the top for Quilt IV together. 
In regards to Quilt IV a few people have signed up to help knock off these final blocks, so we are doing to just needing 58.

Quilt IV is a 6.5 inch 9-patch block. To complete Quilt IV we will need the following blocks by the end of the year.:
  • A - 12
  • C - 3
  • D - 6
  • H - 9
  • M - 4
  • R - 9
  • S - 12
  • T - 4
  • W - 5
  • Period - 4
  • Quote - 6
  • Comma - 4
Quilt III and Quilt V are still on hiatus until the tops for Quilt II and Quilt IV are completed. 
Quilt VI will pop-up again soon, while Quilt I will be on display in Indianapolis, IN January-March 2013.
So, far this year all in all things are moving along at a nice pace.
Again, thanks for all your continued dedication and hard work. The Lynch Quilts Project could not happen without you.
Until next month . . . keep quilting!
With the Utmost Thanks,

Garden News

First canning of the season. Thanks to Cara Dafforn of U-Relish and Joyce Moore of Urban Patch.


This month's resources are a compilation of articles that explore how issues of race are impacting the national election.

Peace and Collaborative Development Network
international collective of more than 25K indviduals from around the world working on peace and justice issues from various angels.
People's Institute for Survival and Beyond
Uses community organizing as a vehicle of erasing racism.

Search for Common Ground on Race
The conflict resolution NGO operates worldwide. In the United States they have recently taken on the task of " building a national program addressing racial healing and reconciliation."

Project on Civic Reflection
Program uses readings and short passages as a way to hold public discussions on civil society issues.


Fear of a Black President


Obama Hate Speech Spreads to the Web



We've had great contributions these past months couples of months in Communal Voices.  I would definitely like to hear from others out there. So, please contribute your thoughts, photos and art.

Mailing Address:
The Lynch Quilts Project
P.O. Box 90348
Indianapolis, IN 46290