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Quilting together stories and memories
A group of young Sudanese girls and mid-American women living in Grand Island come together for one common cause.
Their stories are captured through the art of fabric in the film called, "The Quilted Conscience," which premiered at the Grand Theater Sunday.
News 5's Dara Newson has the story.
Stitch by stitch they quilt their memories of Africa and their dreams in America.
"What my dream was, was to be a lawyer and a judge," said Nyarieka Kier, a student at the Grand Island Public Schools.
"For me this is a story about contrast and connections," said Film Director, John Sorensen.
The filming began four years ago.
Sorensen, a Grand Island native, filmmaker and director of "The Quilted Conscience" set out to organize a fabric arts project for a group of children from Sudan, whose families are genocide refugees.
"There's a quote from Grace Abbott, who was born and raised here in Grand Island, she said, justice for all children is the high ideal in a democracy," Sorensen said.
Abbott's activism was Sorensen's inspiration and became the Abbott Sister Project, which gained the attention of South Carolinian fabric artist, Peggy Heartwell.
"I believe that you preserve stories through fiber, through telling stories on the cloth and it stays forever," Heartwell said.
Local Caucasian women, teachers and quilters, tell their personal stories.
One of them was born in the Appalachian Mountains.
"We lived very rural, with no running water, no electricity, that sort of thing," part of the film explains.
It's a similar poverty-stricken lifestyle these teenage girls lived through in Africa almost ten years ago.
"Really nobody had any food until we all came to America," said Habiba Ghaifan, a GIPS student.
"The quilters that I quilted with, we became closer than we were before," Kier said.
Sixteen girls attending the Grand Island Public Schools districts were chosen by Tracy Morrow to participate in the project.
"The experiences with them were just amazing, lots of discovery because they hadn't had the different objects we have here in America," said Tracy Morrow, a teacher with GIPS.
The goal is to stitch the two groups together.
It's a story of preserving history through the cloth. Re-telling stories, building relationships and creating new memories.
Portions of the film can be seen on YouTube.
There is also an ongoing quilt display at the Edith Abbott Memorial Library.
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