John Sorensen to present FREE SCREENING of “The Quilted Conscience” at the Grand Theater Sunday November 11 at 2 pm
“The Quilted Conscience” is a 60-minute film showing the beautiful and important story of a group of sixteen Sudanese-American girls – refugees from the genocide in their troubled homeland – who are thrust into a new life in Grand Island; of a quilter’s guild of local white women, some of whom have had little previous contact with ethnic or racial minorities; and of a famed African-American quilt-maker, Peggy Hartwell, who travels a thousand miles to help “stitch” the two groups together by means of a “culture-blend” fabric-art project: the making of a beautiful wall-size mural, composed of dozens of dramatic story-panels created by the Sudanese girls with the help of the local women.
The sixteen girls were students in Grand Island Public Schools at the time of the filming. Ten of the girls are still in GIPS and will be in attendance. Both Sorensen and Hartwell also will be on hand for the screening at the Grand Theater. The public is welcome to attend this free showing.
The subjects of the students’ quilt panels are Dreams & Memories – showing the girls’ memories of Africa and their dreams of America. The Memories are cultural memories, answering the question “What is unique in who I am and in where I come from?” These images honor the traditions and heritage of the students’ families and communities back in Sudan, showing what is best and most special to them in their African pasts. The Dreams are personal dreams of each student – some of them answering the question “Who and what do I want to be in life?” These images show the wonderful things that the girls will do in their American futures, with some students also creating “dream images” that offer a glimpse into their inner worlds and night-dreams, with subject matter ranging from hopes of being nurses and doctors to careers as lawyers or judges – and, in one impressive case, even of becoming a professional female football player.
Sorensen is also the director and founder of the Abbott Sisters Project. He is the author of the books “The Grace Abbott Reader” (U. of Nebraska Press, 2008) and “Grace Abbott: an Introduction” (UNO, 2010) and is the creator of the “Dreams & Memories Immigrant-Student Quilt Workshop” project. His Abbott work has been the subject of segments on NET’s “Next Exit” and “Nebraska Stories” series and many other TV, radio, web, magazine and newspaper features. He has presented a wide-range of Abbott programs for the New York Public Library, Chicago Public Radio, New York University, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, the University of Nebraska, the Chicago Humanities Festival and others.