Introducing The Quilt: Policy, Art, and Healing

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In the Twin Cities we have no shortage of media organizations, but we have also fought long-and-hard against many of our legacy media counterparts. Whether it was #Pointergate or so many other injustices, we have struggled to feel that our stories as people of color, as low-income people, as renters, as members of the LGBTQIAP community, etc. are told accurately and fairly. 

As people of color, many of us have often felt that our identities and issues are dismissed in favor of a false objectivity and in pursuit of a two-sided fallacy, second to word count, editorial planning, traditional journalistic processes and practices, and everything else that is more important than who we are people. 

The Quilt: Policy, Art, and Healing is one way that we’re changing all of that, as we build a community with a different relationship to journalism. The Quilt came about after months of discussion and mutual imagining between Voices for Racial Justice and ourselves.

As two organizations led by people of color from different diasporas, we have had rich conversations about each of our communities’ relationships to policy. Through this we found ourselves sharing stories about local governance models in our various communities, and the lineages of organizing and storytelling embedded in our different cultures. We combined Voices’ background in creating assessment tools with The UpTake’s editorial knowledge and a Journalism of Color methodology developed by staff at The UpTake with guidance and mentorship from Voices’ staff. 

The Quilt elevates the voices of those impacted as central in the racial justice efforts in our state. The Quilt asks: how do we align journalism methodologies in ways that reflect the ways our communities naturally do storytelling, so that it is informed by various cultures and worldviews rather than assimilating folks in the process of its development. The process of building this tool has expanded the sense of community ownership over the magazine, and we hope it can be a platform to support organizers in our state. 

We have imagined a future for The Quilt. The UpTake plans on creating a year of reporting based on the magazine, and Voices plans to use the magazine as a racial justice organizing tool. Our hope is for this to be a bridge that connects policy, art, and healing to a larger conversation about community transformation. We have imagined new ways of moving our partnerships forward, with, through, and led by communities of color and indigenous communities. And we believe that it is right for policy to incorporate healing, love, hope, beauty, and art; that it is not wrong for policy to look and feel like us; and that it is not wrong for the Capitol and other government bodies to look like and feel like us. The Quilt aims is to be owned and facilitated by communities and it is the lifeblood in our organizations. 

You can read The Quilt: Policy, Art, and Healing online and request a print copy of the magazine by emailing info@theuptake.org.

For questions about The Quilt, please email cirien.saadeh@theuptake.org.

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