Beloved Community,

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Quilt: Policy, Art, and Healing. In this magazine we explore the ways in which we incorporate art and healing in our policy discussions. Our intent has been to engage our community in a deeper policy discussion, while also creating and sharing a policy tool that is culturally- and community-rooted. The Quilt is published by Voices for Racial Justice and The UpTake. Voices for Racial Justice is a movement organization led by people of color that envisions a world without racism honoring the culture, knowledge, power, and healing of black, brown, immigrant and indigenous communities. We are committed to building collective cultural strategies for racial justice through organizing, training, community policy and research. Our work is guided by a soil tending approach which we borrow from friend, artist, organizer, and elder Ricardo Levins Morales that recognizes the importance of caring for the soil of our organizing and movement work in order for our seeds to grow and flourish. We see soil tending as an invitation to take responsibility for the culture we live in and create practices, strategies, and spaces in alignment with our vision for the future.

The UpTake is a woman of color-led community-centered nonprofit news organization, founded in 2007. In our earliest years, we were a citizen journalism organization known for our livestream coverage of the Minnesota Legislature; electoral campaigns and recounts; and community mobilization efforts. Today, we are a community journalism organization that centers a deep and continuous analysis of social issues. We believe in collaboration and a multitude of tools, including livestream, to report on the issues pertinent to historically marginalized communities. We see our future as two-fold: the formation of a cooperative newsroom, and the creation of a community journalism school. The UpTake applies a systems change approach in our reporting, as we strive to equip community members with the tools to maneuver and report on the world and social movements using a methodology that attempts to re-imagine and re-distribute power as an organization, with journalists, and as system actors, in an act of journalistic imagination. The Quilt came about after many months of discussion and mutual imagining. As people of color of different diasporas, we had rich conversations about each of our communities’ relationships to policy.

Through this we found ourselves sharing stories about local governance models in our various communities, and the lineages of organizing and storytelling embedded in our different cultures. Out of this process emerged this question: what does it mean to center art and healing as we talk about policy? We combined Voices’ background in creating policy tools, agendas, and report cards, with The UpTake’s tools & editorial knowledge, and a Journalism of Color methodology, developed by staff at The UpTake with guidance and mentorship from Voices’ staff.

We believe that it is not wrong for policy to incorporate healing, love, hope, beauty, and art. We believe that it is not wrong for policy to look and feel like us. We believe that it is not wrong for the Capitol to look like and feel like us. And we hope that The Quilt feels similar.

Our hope is for this magazine to be a bridge that connects policy, art, and healing, to a larger conversation about community transformation. At the same time, we have imagined a future for The Quilt. The UpTake plans on creating a year of reporting based on The Quilt, and we have imagined new ways of moving our partnerships forward, with, through, and led by our communities.

With gratitude,
the Current Editorial Team
Gabriella Anaïs Deal-Márquez,
Brett Grant, and Cirien Saadeh

 

A special thanks to Fayise Abrahim, who was part of our founding editorial team.