13 October, 2015


"Mom? Who was the lady on the bus again?"

We're driving down the road to get to swimming. I've felt busy all day long with wonderfully middle class privileges of baking snacks from scratch, walking the dog, and trying to get some work done at home. The kids, picked up from school and play dates, are in the back of our large wagon and we are chatting about their days. The Monster is telling me about the unit they are doing on Peacemakers. There is Craig Kielburger from Free the Children, Malala, and the lady on the bus. She just can't remember her name. Or, frankly, why she is a peacemaker.

This one bit of information is all she gives me but I know exactly who she is speaking of: Rosa Parks.

For the rest of the drive we talk about segregation, racism, The Civil Rights movement, the role of children, all their friends of many colours, and just why Rosa Parks is a peacemaker. The girls thought about their school and imagined life without some of their friends, without learning about the places we've all come from. I thought about the same thing. We were all very sad. I had to explain that despite all the work that there are still ugly people doing ugly things to people just because of the way they look or who they love. Again, we were sad.

But then we talked about the peacemakers. The people who were willing to stand up for the good and the right and the just. The people who fought for those who couldn't fight. And I was proud. Proud of them for understanding the importance of that action, for getting exactly what injustices they were/are fighting, and for wanting to fight themselves.

A quilt can be a statement. It isn't a call to arms nor is it going to change the world. It really might only be for me to process and remember the peacemakers. Regardless, it needs to be made. I need to make it. And I will share it with my kids and you, for the lady on the bus.

... I went back to these blocks a few weeks ago, on the anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham. I added skirts, I changed directions. Now I think I know where I will take it. There will be, appropriately, a Courthouse Steps final layout. There will be some peace with my piecing.


elle said...

A great and thoughtful post, Cheryl!

cassandra said...

I love where this is going, and that you had that beautiful conversation with your daughters. Thanks for sharing it! Definitely inspiring me to think more about how to talk to my boys about hard stuff. And how art can be part of a path forward.

liz said...

beautiful! TFS!

Suzanne said...

I love your expression of middle school privileges. I have many of those and so many others. This was a sweet reminder of how little I need to complain about.

Charlotta said...

Lovely post. Wonderful quilt. It makes me hopeful every time I hear of a white mama who talks thoughtfully to her children about race relations and the issues we still face. It's so important that we, too, remember and honor peacemakers like Rosa Parks. She helped make the world a better place for all of us, not only for black people.

Karen said...

Thank you, Cheryl, for having important conversations with your children. This is how the world bends toward love.