Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MLK Celebrations

The Quilts celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend in style with four events and viewings that brought to light the unfortunate injustices which still occur in a post-Civil Rights world.

Saturday morning, more than 40 volunteers from Rollins College and their extended Winter Park family paid tribute to Dr. King’s philosophy of community activism through a Day of Service to the community of South Apopka. Undertaking significant projects like a landscape overhaul and repairing a wheelchair ramp required the involvement of a wide variety of donors and sponsors like Bobby McLennan of McLennan Construction Group, Keller Outdoor, Thomas Lumber, Home Depot, and Rollins College Office of Community Engagement.

At the end of the experience, volunteers viewed the Blue and Red Quilts at the home of Ms. Linda Lee of Apopka, the lead designer and seamstress of the project. Rollins arrived at tail-end of a previous viewing by alumnae of Trinity College, in town for a reunion event.  The two groups mingled and admired the quilt squares as Linda Lee and Sr. Ann Kendrick spoke of the significance of this project for the former farmworkers in Apopka.

Sunday, the quilts travelled to Winter Park for the 9th Annual Unity Heritage Festival. The quilts were featured near the main stage for the almost two-day event (rain interrupted Day 2), inviting participants to learn more about the human costs of food production, pesticide exposure, and environmental racism in the backyard of Orlando. Later, Linda Lee and Geraldean Matthew along with Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida offered a discussion and screening of Out of the Muck, an account of farmworker issues in Apopka.

These first events of 2011 made large shoes to fill for the next several months as we embark on a fundraising campaign and expanding the reach of the Quilt Project to other areas of Florida and beyond. 

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