A quilter in New York named Zak Foster recently visited Mexico. During his trip, he learned about the tragic events of September 26, 2014, when 43 students went missing during a protest in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. Since that day, the families and friends of the students have had no satisfactory answers as to the fate of the young men, mostly aged 18-24. Many demonstrations have taken place. The internet is full of art pieces and tributes to these young men. There are agencies supporting their families in the search for justice. Zak, in cooperation with one such agency, decided to create a quilt. A tangible show of support, made by quilters around the world, to honour these young men.
I went through the list of names still available for a quilt block and chose a young man the same age as my son. His name is Doriam González Parral. His friends called him "Kinder" because he was so small for his age. Normally, he didn't attend political rallies, but went along this time to support his friends and older brother Jorge Luis. On that fateful night, their parents lost both boys.
Zak asked that blocks be made only with white and red fabric to show solidarity. Each block should say the student's entire name. When I discovered Doriam's brother was also taken, I got in touch with Natalie, who is making Jorge Luis' block. It was really comforting for me to have a partner to collaborate with. I found I could not focus and come up with a plan on my own. Everything I thought of seemed 'not good enough' or too amateur for such a weighty project. This was an excellent exercise in letting go of ego and embracing empathy. When I discovered this photo, I realized that whatever discomfort I felt in my lack of artistic ability, it paled in comparison to the sorrow of their poor mother.
Natalie started improv-piecing, but found the letters were getting much to large to fit onto the 12" block. I offered to machine applique the two name blocks and use her improv letters for a joining strip below the two blocks that will say "los hermanos" (the brothers). I learned from a Spanish-speaking neighbour that you would not say "los hermanos Parral" (my original idea) because both family surnames are required.
It was Natalie's idea to embroider line-drawing portraits of the brothers on top of their names. I hope that our resulting blocks will suitably honour these young men, taken illegally from their family and without any official acknowledgement. Please have a look here and sign the petition if you would like to offer your support in the quest for justice.