This pasted summer I attended The Ella Baker Institute which was an extension of the Freedom Dreams, Freedom Now conference that was held at The University of Illinois Chicago. Both events were spearheaded by Professor Barbra Ransby, the author of, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement.  The Ella Baker Institute began with a workshop lead by the amazing, Climbing Poetree. We participated in a project of Climbing Poetree entitled S.T.I.C.H.E.D.

“S.T.I.T.C.H.E.D is a story-gathering project that Climbing PoeTree started during their 2005 national tour. This incredible multi-colored tapestry holds more than 10,000 Stories, Testimonies, Intentions, Truths, Confessions, Healing, Expressions, & Dreams written by audience members and workshop participants Alixa and Naima have met across the nation.”

Beginning this week of study, by participating in Climbing Poetree’s workshop and adding to S.T.I.C.H.E.D, was a beautiful way to begin and very fitting for Ella Baker. As Barbra Ransby writes in, Quilting A Movement:  

Ella Baker organized back and forth across various color and cultural lines, and most importantly, across generational divides. In other words, she was a political quilter. She did not advocate forging coalitions of convenience: short-lived and limited. Instead, she wanted to create a movement and nurture the kind of long-term relationships that would sustain it. She tenaciously stitched together fragments of a progressive community into a patchwork of a movement.

The same way , actually stitches together fragments of cloth holding the truths of people across color, cultural and generational divides. Forever stitched together, “Declaring our truths and bearing witness to others.

It is time to celebrate fifteen years of S.T.I.C.H.E.D with Climbing Poetree!