BMA Violet Hour: The Monument Quilt
Join us for a virtual panel discussion to commemorate the acquisition of 10 blocks of The Monument Quilt, a project of the Baltimore-based FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture collective. Hear the stories of the organization’s members and leaders as they discuss the national and international impact of the project, their participation in the quilt-making, and the struggles of navigating a growing collective made for and by survivors.
Joining the discussion will be Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither, documentary story quilter, retired educator, and activist; Monica Stevens, founder of Sistas of the “t” and co-founder of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, organizations which support re-empowering trans people of color; and Mora Fernández, activist, consultant, and advocate devoted to survivors of sexual trauma through her co-leadership of FORCE and La Casa Mandarina, located in Mexico City. Moderating the conversation is Dr. Kalima Young, Assistant Professor at Towson University who has served on the leadership team of FORCE since 2014.
About FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture
Founded in 2010 by and for survivors, FORCE was an art and activist collective dedicated to constructing a culture of consent, widely known for creating public art to disrupt rape culture. FORCE was an intersectional, LGBTQ focused, multicultural, pro-black and anti-white supremacist collective, who did their deepest organizing work in Baltimore and Mexico City and planted seeds globally. We strived for our visual imagery, language, resources, and organizing strategies to have a local and global impact in their efforts to end sexual and intimate partner violence by changing social attitudes and connecting these shifts to policy change.
FORCE is best known for blanketing the National Mall in June 2019 with the Monument Quilt, a collection of over 3,000 stories by survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and our allies, written, painted, and stitched onto red fabric.
Dr. Kalima Young
Dr. Kalima Young is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University. She received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Maryland College Park. Her research explores the impact of race and gender-based trauma on Black identity, media, and cultural production. A Baltimore native, videographer, and activist, Dr. Young is also a member of Rooted, a Black LGBTQ healing collective. Her manuscript, Mediated Misogynoir: Erasing Black Women’s and Girl’s Innocence in the Public Imagination is scheduled to be released by Rowman and Littlefield’s Lexington Books in 2022.
Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither
Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither, a native Baltimorean with a history of helping to integrate local schools and businesses during the Civil Rights Movement, is an artist, teacher, and activist. She has created 183 documentary story quilts since 2000 and continues to hold quilting workshops that encourage participants to research, capture, and visualize personal oral histories and memories. As a retired educator from Maryland State Public Schools and Maryland Institute College of Art, Dr. Gaither passionately supports young people’s voices by endowing the Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither Scholarship/Young People’s Studio. Her documentary story quilts are included in personal collections and continue to be exhibited in local and national museums, galleries, schools, and churches.
Monica Stevens is a longtime activist in gender rights, trans rights, civil rights, and voter’s rights movements in Baltimore and Maryland. She is a 68-year-old black woman of transgender experience and the founder of Sistas of the “t”, an education, outreach, and advocacy organization in Baltimore that serves trans people of color who are seeking freedom from surviving sex work as their only means of support. Stevens is the co-founder of The Baltimore Transgender Alliance, a political action organization founded to help unify, strengthen, and empower trans organizations in Baltimore.
In addition, Stevens is a musical performer, poet, and short story writer, published in numerous anthologies, such as LIES Volume II, A Diary of Journeys, and The Zelda Journals. Stevens is the daughter of 93-year-old Charles Yorkman, her biggest support and her rock. Her favorite quote is by Ernest Holmes: “If I want to make a better world then I have to be a better person in the world.”
Mora Fernández is an activist, survivor, consultant, and advocate for survivors of sexual violence devoted to healing trauma and ending child sexual abuse. Co-leader of FORCE, she is also the Founder and CEO of La Casa Mandarina AC, an independent Mexican organization devoted to end sexual violence through ARTivism. For 22 years, Mora has worked, nationally and internationally, to create innovative and radical artistic and advocacy projects to defend the rights of children, women, indigenous people, and undocumented immigrants. She has advised and collaborated with key decision-makers, international agencies, governments, grassroots organizations, and feminist groups around the world. She is an extremely passionate traveler, an amateur sculptor and an excellent dancer born in Mexico City but a citizen of the world. Mora is obsessed with maps.