The theme for this year’s summer reading program at Peachtree City Library is Build a Better World, and participants are encouraged to do just that by making quilt block for The 70273 Project on Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the library. No experience is necessary – you don’t have to have ever held a piece of fabric except to button or zip it. Participants will be given the necessary material and instructions.
The 70273 Project is the brain child of Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, who was stitching the drawings of her 57-year-old mentally disabled “sister-in-love” while watching a documentary when the idea of The 70273 Project came to her.
Between January 1940 and August 1941 (before the Holocaust began), 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people – men, women, teens, boys, and girls – were murdered by the Nazis. Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed “unfit” or an “economic burden on society”, the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file, and when two of them made a red X on the page, the disabled person’s fate was sealed. Most were murdered within 1-2 hours.
Hewell-Chambers decided to commemorate the 70,273 voiceless, powerless people by gathering 70,273 blocks of white fabric (representing innocence and the paper the doctors read), each bearing two red X’s (representing one person), and stitch them together into quilts.
Obviously, it was much too big of a job for one person, so Hewell-Chambers enlisted the help of people across the globe to submit blocks via her blog. The blocks will ultimately be stitched together to make quilts – perhaps as many as 1200 of them – that will travel to every corner of the world, commemorating the disabled people who died, celebrating those with special needs who live among us today, and educating all who will listen.
In lieu of, or addition to, participating in the library’s Block Drive, participants can donate supplies including: white fabric (old tablecloths or off the bolt) and/or red thread, buttons, ribbon, rick rack, or fabric.
For more information, visit: www.The70273Project.org