Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Blanket Statement: Harrisburg students design social justice quilt, display in city hall

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School teacher JoAnn Baldwin, students Sanai Galloway and Elijah Daniel, and Mayor Wanda Williams in front of the social justice quilt in city hall.

Each year, JoAnn Baldwin, a third-grade teacher at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Harrisburg, gives her class a name.

At the beginning of this past year, she dubbed them the “change makers,” which was fitting for a project her students would soon undertake—creating a social justice quilt.

On Tuesday, Baldwin and students showed off the work of art, which Harrisburg will display in its MLK City Government Center for the coming weeks.

“I’m so proud of them,” Baldwin said. “These are 9-year-olds learning about what it means to be fair and what equality means.”

According to Baldwin, the school was approached by members of Shippensburg University’s Department of Multicultural Student Affairs in September 2021, which invited the class to participate in the project. Students each designed a fabric square depicting themes around identity and social justice. Shippensburg assembled the quilt and displayed it on campus in October.

Social justice quilt, designed by St. Stephen’s students

Elijah Daniel, 9, drew a peace sign surrounded with words like “be yourself” and “good grades” on his square. Another student, Sanai Galloway, said that “it feels amazing” to see her artwork hung in city hall. Others included phrases like “Black Lives Matter,” “don’t give up,” and “diversity.”

“I think this is a great opportunity for people to see in the city of Harrisburg that these kids are passionate about doing something right,” Mayor Wanda Williams said. “They are residents of the city of Harrisburg, and why not let the residents show what our city can do?”

Baldwin said that, during the process of creating the quilt, the class had discussions about social justice, something that’s already built into the regular St. Stephen’s curriculum, she said.

“I feel like I’m doing what I need to be doing as an educator,” she said. “This is our future. I’m showing them how they can make a change.”


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