Drones Quilt Project Turns 5

It’s hard to believe, but the Drones Quilt Project was first exhibited at the Veterans For Peace convention in Madison, Wisconsin, August 2013. Since then, it has been to every VFP convention (just finished St. Paul!) and graced the cover of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) magazine “Peace and Freedom” in the Fall/Winter 2013 edition. It has crisscrossed the country from Alaska to Maine, and been shown in over 60 cities. Venues included lots of libraries, peace houses, universities and churches, as well as some more unusual places like a bank! The quilts have been carried in marches, draped on the steps of the NY state capitol building in Albany, and used as backdrops for press conferences.
But no matter where they are shown, they have a poignant effect on people. Seeing the names instantly humanizes the victims–they are real people, not just a number, or “collateral damage.” Many of the artists said that the process of making the blocks was a very moving for them. Unfortunately, we don’t even know the names of about 80% of the victims, so we memorialize those deaths in blocks labeled “Precious Son,” or “Loving Father,” or “10 year old boy.”
We need to remember also, that in addition to the fatalities, there are so many other ways that people are being victimized. Children become orphans. Homes are destroyed. Injured are not able to work. Parents keep their children from going to school. They experience a kind of mental torture as the watch and hear the drones circling overhead, never knowing when a missile will be fired.
I have been asked how long the project will keep going…I don’t see an end in sight.

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