Social Justice Sewing Academy
SJSA empowers individuals to use textile art as a framework for activism.
Founded in 2017, the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is a non-profit organization that aims to empower individuals to utilize textile art for personal transformation, community cohesion, and to begin the journey toward becoming an agent of social change. Prior to COVID-19, youth workshops and programs were at the core of the organization.Through a series of hands-on workshops in schools, prisons, and community centers across the country, SJSA used social justice and art education to bridge artistic expression with activism. Many of our young artists made art that explored issues such as gender discrimination, mass incarceration, gun violence, and gentrification. The powerful imagery that youth created in cloth demonstrated their critique of issues plaguing their local and larger communities. These quilt blocks are then sent to volunteers around the world to embellish and embroider before being sewn together into quilts to be displayed in museums, galleries, and quilt shows across the country.
While youth programming remains at the heart of SJSA, the civil rights movement of 2020 and the concurrent COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted SJSA’s programming. Due to no longer being able to provide in-person programming and limited virtual youth workshops, SJSA launched a series of new initiatives to critically respond to the times. With each project, SJSA bridges the differences between age, race,and socioeconomic status to facilitate conversations about and encourage action toward social justice issues in households across the country.