The Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is a youth education program connecting artistic expression with activism to advocate with social change. SJSA youth join an important American tradition of employing fiber arts as a method of social engagement, joining pieces like the earliest US flags to Civil War quilts, Civil Rights protest banners and the AIDS Memorial quilt.
At Social Justice Sewing Academy we believe that in times of uncertainty- when students are surrounded by disinformation and division- that art is more than beauty or decoration. Through a series of workshops in schools, prisons and community centers, SJSA empowers youth to use textile art as a vehicle for personal transformation, community cohesion and to become agents of change. These young artists tackle issues of gender, discrimination, incarceration, gun violence and gentrification. The powerful imagery they create in cloth tells their stories. Once completed, these quilt blocks are sent to volunteers across the world to embroider before being sewn together into quilts for display across the country. This visual dialogue bridges differences in race, age, and socioeconomic class, while sparking conversations and action nationwide.
In our quilts, Art becomes a shield and a weapon, a megaphone for unheard voices, a bridge to unite communities. For us the simple union of ideas and cloth and thread creates a compass pointing to a future we want to live in, and that we want our children to live in.
SJSA is focused on more than art. Our goal is to build an American identity rooted in equality, dignity, diversity, truth, and beauty for young people not used to seeing themselves in history books and or on the walls of classrooms, Our hope is that the simple, yet urgent messages contained in these quilts will be carried with the maker and the viewer for the rest of their lives while helping young people today feel spoken for, and listened to.
In our workshops and on display, the art of quilting is a tool for connecting youth and community to ideas. It is a tool to empowered us all to make the change we want to see in the world.
Social Justice Sewing Academy PO Box 2473 Antioch, CA 94531