Quilts of Freedom

By Jeramey Reamer

Have you noticed how colorful the Campus Center walkway was during February?  The halls of Westminster campus met students with large African flags and patched quilts. Along the path, hung incredible reminders of the contributions that African Americans have made to our country.

With February’s observance of Black History Month now finished, Front Range Community College can feel proud it dedicated its busiest hallway to honor the black leaders of our generation, like President Barack Obama.

This focus to preserve the rich history of Africans and their impact on the United States was brought to life by students organizing the Quilts of Freedom table.  Earlier this month, the Student Life Office engaged their community by paying tribute to a unique form of communication. During the period of slavery, an elaborate code of embroidered patterns was used as covert communication between slaves, often leading to their freedom.

Alise Trujillo was one of the Student Life staff members who led students to draw their own codes on small pieces of cloth that were later woven into a large quilt.

“We are showing respect to everyone and their culture,” said Trujillo. “People need to feel welcome, and we want to make them feel supported.”

Students brought a modern application to a historical activity. Each stitch was an investigation into the past, to experience it and to learn from its wisdom.  Intricate patterns and colorful drawings emerged to create a beautiful portrait of gratitude. This quilt was showcased in the Student Organization Center as a flag to wave proudly.

Emerging from this reverence for the past came a tribute to the African American social pioneers of our times.  Mae Jemison became the first black woman to orbit space. Her and the crew of NASA’s Endeavor were part of a monumental mission into a new galaxy of equality. Many other proud achievements by African Americans were hung from the walls by FRCC’s Diversity Committee during February.

Jenice Lucero, a New Student Orientation Leader, commented on February’s tribute to African Americans.

“Front Range is really good with student diversity. We have so many students from so many backgrounds,” said Lucero.

As Black History Month comes to an end and a new month greets us, we look forward with confidence while honoring the past.  We can all be sure to continue the celebration by cultivating an attitude of inclusion and a culture of respect.

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