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Mothers Quilt Against Gun Violence

April 6, 2014

By Gal Tziperman Lotan, The Boston Globe

wiggs_quilts_37721About a dozen women brought old baby blankets, clothing, and scraps of fabric to a Jamaica Plain church hall on Saturday to create quilt squares for an organization that supports changing gun laws.

The women, convened by the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, stitched 17 pieces of fabric each into a pattern called “mother’s dream,” creating 8-inch squares with X-shapes in the middle. The organization was founded after 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.

Representative Katherine Clark, a Melrose Democrat, stopped by to talk about gun legislation pending in congressional committee.

“These issues tend to be more intense in our urban communities, but unfortunately they stretch throughout,” Clark said. “And it’s really an issue that affects everyone. And it’s something I hear from people in my district, that they are very concerned about for me to have as a priority in D.C.”

The women put the squares into small plastic bags and will mail them to New York, where other members of Moms Demand Action will sew them into a 48-square quilt with pieces from women in other states, including California, Georgia, Florida, and Washington. The quilt will probably be finished by the end of April.

“We’re hoping it could be on display somewhere meaningful, but it’s not quite solidified yet,” said Molly Malloy, co-leader of the organization’s Massachusetts chapter.

The group’s members hope to have a square made by a mother directly affected by gun violence in Boston at the center of their other squares, but do not have anyone designated.

“It could live on as a permanent piece of art, really, to commemorate the lives lost to gun violence and to show the toll gun violence takes,” said Sarah Doyle, a mother of two from Natick and member of the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action. “It’s a way for women to come together and be reformers of things that are problems in society, a way to share their grief and a way to make change happen.”

Jessica Boatright of Roslindale came with her 5-year-old daughter, Nora, and a collection of old children’s pajamas and a hospital swaddling blanket.

“I know how quilts can really build a lot of meaning and bring people together,” Boatright said.

Elaine Pratt of Newton, the advocacy leader for the state’s Moms Demand Action chapter, brought fabric with a black, red, green, yellow, and blue flower design that her father bought for her mother while stationed in Germany during World War II.

“Well, there’s only so long you can keep it. I figured, this was a meaningful event to bring it to,” Pratt said. “World War II — that was a place where guns were used to protect our country. But [now] we need gun laws to protect our citizens who are not at war.”

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