SO (Sew), America Cares
On May 7, 2018 the current administration announced a Zero Tolerance policy that required that all families who crossed the border should not only be separated but also charged in federal court with the crime of illegal entry. In the past, most children were released to relatives who agreed to be their sponsors. But many family members were reluctant to come forward when the government started requiring that all members of the household be fingerprinted and all information, including immigration status, be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Initially, there was no system in place to reunite parents with their children, and hundreds of parents were deported without their children.
SO (Sew) America Cares raises awareness as to the consequences of this Draconian policy. Its mission is to advocate for these children and to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to participate. As a South Florida artist, I am concerned about the hundreds of separated children ending up in shelters across our country. I believe Art can impact the social context of these family separations and especially the lives of these children forced to live in camps with little hope of seeing their families anytime soon, if ever. Art can be a powerful tool in starting an open dialogue about Zero Tolerance in our community and in the rest of the country.
Because of poor documentation, many children can no longer be located in this national web of emergency shelters, their faces slowly but inexorably disappearing along with the prospects of reunification with their families. We cannot allow these traumatized children to be forgotten. Our plan is to "sew" them back, to never allow them to be lost again. Some of their faces will be sketched on cloth and people will be encouraged to stitch and sew on the drawings to recover the faces of these children. Thread by thread the community will dwell on the current circumstances of these children who never asked to illegal aliens. Each face will be sewn to become part of a larger piece, a quilt that reflects the lives of these children, the diversities of their origins and experience es. We have chosen to use textiles because textiles embody who we are and reflect our traditions and history. Textiles are formed by weaving, knitting, crocheting, knotting, tatting, felting, braiding, lacing, brocading, and embroidering, the raw fibers or threads reflecting the bonding and interlacing material to Sew America. As in pre historic times, textiles and fibers narrate the history of the world.
Sewing kits will be prepared and sold in museum shops. All proceeds will be used to help support Americans for Immigrant Justice (AI Justice), an organization that has represented vulnerable immigrants who would otherwise go without representation since 1996. AI Justice staff represented hundreds of children who had been separated from their families, some as young as three years old, and helped reunite over 100 of them with their families. AI Justice continues to serve unaccompanied minors and families facing separation due to detention and/or deportation.
Local participation in this social art project not only demonstrates a moral connection in the lives of these children but a strengthening of the very fabric of our own community.
The project consists of 10 different faces that will be repeated 100 times each to add 1000 faces. The faces had been laser etched on raw canvas to allow the participant to use any kind of thread, yarn, wool, fabric, paint etc. So (sew) America Cares has a plan: to "sew" them back, to never allow these children to be lost again, to create a quilt of 1000 faces representing a portion of these children.
We cannot allow these traumatized children to disappear and in time, be forgotten.People are encouraged to stitch, sew, knit, knot, crochet, embroider, or braid these drawings so as to symbolically recover these children’s faces and lives again.
Art can impact the social context of family dislocations and can serve as a powerful tool in encouraging an open national dialogue about Zero Tolerance in our country.
So (sew) America Cares is an international call for people to participate and raise awareness as to the consequences of this immigration policy and its devastating effect on children.
Maria Gracias Salinas
Sobrina de Adriana
Maria Cristina Garcia
Maria Eugenia Uliv
Sabrina Buxeda Castillo
Maria Susana Spina
Leandro Javier Rodriguez
Hilda Elena Restrepo Angre
javier Valencia Arenas
Sofia Ursula Sobelewski
Click to Purchase your kit.
Participation in this social art project not only demonstrates a moral connection in the lives of these children but a strengthening of the very fabric of our own community.
From the creation of the collective portraits of the immigrant children by community participants, facilitating the art process through workshops, leading the conversation on immigration through lectures, mobilizing the community to action and collaboration to presenting the final product in a museum setting November 2020 during pre election; So (Sew) Americans Do Care will raise awareness on the current state of immigration and shine a light on the increase of deportation, detention, and child death under immigration custody. We ask for justice for these refugees that have made America strong in the past and will continue to do so in the future.