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Thought
Leadership
Corner

By Laura Flusche, Executive Director of the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) 

About the Author

“At MODA, we chose to host the Welcome Blanket Project because of its power to connect people already living in the United States with our country’s new immigrants through stories and handmade blankets, providing both symbolic and literal comfort and warmth.”


If you have come to this page looking for an older Thought Leadership piece, please scroll down to the archives.

 

Greetings from MODA!

At MODA — the only design museum in the southeastern United States — we believe that design inspires change, transforms lives, and makes the world a better place.

We recently hosted an exhibition titled Making Change: The Art and Craft of Activism that explored Craftivism, a movement at the intersection of traditional crafts and social justice activism.

During Making Change, we partnered with New American Pathways on an initiative called The Welcome Blanket Project. Created by Jayna Zweiman — one of the designers of the pink pussy hat worn at the Women’s March in January 2017 — The Welcome Blanket Project invites individuals across the US to hand make a blanket that will serve as a “warm welcome” for an immigrant or refugee newly arrived in America.

During Making Change, MODA received hundreds of Welcome Blankets in the mail, sometimes as many as 50 a day. Blanket makers also included a note welcoming a new neighbor to our country and telling their own immigration story. When we received the blankets at MODA, we eagerly unpacked and admired them, then photographed and cataloged them, and hung them on the wall in our galleries for visitors to enjoy.

We rotated the blankets in our galleries often, and when blankets came off the walls, they were packed up and taken to New American Pathways to give to new friends.

Kay, former Burmese refugee and part owner of Tandem Quilting

Every blanket came with a story that was touching, but one of the most meaningful was that of Kay, a refugee from Burma, who now makes her life in Georgia. Part owner of Tandem Quilting, Kay heard about The Welcome Blanket Project and wanted to be part of it. She created a beautiful blanket and wrote a note full of advice for a someone new to the U.S. including “be sure to get to know your neighbors.” Her blanket was given to Muna, a newly-arrived Syrian woman, who is expecting her second child at the end of the year.

Muna and her first son received a warm welcome from Kay.

At MODA, we chose to host the Welcome Blanket Project because of its power to connect people already living in the United States with our country’s new immigrants through stories and handmade blankets, providing both symbolic and literal comfort and warmth. At the same time, the project offers a positive, hands-on way to confront negative rhetoric about immigration and to privilege the idea of inclusion over exclusion.

New American Pathways extends our deepest appreciation to MODA and all of the craftivists around the nation who hand made these blankets as a symbol of welcome. September 22nd marks the opening of MODA’s next exhibit, Design for Good: Architecture for Everyone. We hope you’ll stop by to see it!


Archived Thought Leadership Stories

 

August 2018: The Ideal Candidate by Justine Okello

July 2018: My Role in Welcoming, and Being Welcomed by Mary Martha Myette

April 2018: Why I Serve with Refugees by Minji Kim

February 2018: Where are the Refugees? by Stephanie Jackson Ali

January 2018: Sharing Riches Through Mentorship by Kelsey Smith

December 2017: Thoughts on Doing Good This Season by Andrew Leba

October/November 2017: Thoughts on Thankfulness by Paedia Mixon

September 2017: Undocumented and Unafraid: My Parents, My Heroes by Raymond Partolan

August 2017: Building PathDriver: My Path to Drive an Impact by Robin Deutsch Edwards

July 2017: Civic Engagement Regardless of Citizenship by Maria del Rosario Palacios

June 2017: Celebrating World Refugee Day by Rabbi Peter S. Berg

May 2017: Love>Fear: And It’s Good For Business by Bonnie Kallenberg

April 2017:Talking with Babies Makes Their Brains Smarter by Nitza Vega-Lahr, Ph.D.

March 2017: It’s All About Student Support by Terry Segovis

February 2017: Clarkston, Georgia: An Ever-Changing Town by Awet Eyasu

January 2017: Reclaiming Georgia’s Legacy of Love by Paedia Mixon

December 2016: Reflections on Welcoming Communities Trip to Germany by Alicia Phillip

November 2016: Thanksgiving in America by Bishop Robert Wright

October 2016: Voting: The Real American Dream by Elizabeth Poythress

August/September 2016: From the Road: das Willkommen by Paedia Mixon

July 2016: My Life In AmeriCorps by Lauren Mertens

June 2016: Reflecting On World Refugee Day

May 2016: A Gift for my Parents by Bee Nguyen

April 2016: The Ripple Effect by Breauna Hagen

March 2016: Lessons I’ve Learned Tutoring a Refugee by Ashley Hager

February 2016: For the Love of Humanity by Safia Jama

January 2016: 4D Service Learning at The Galloway School by Scotti Belfi

November and December 2015: A Case for Syrian Resettlement by Paedia Mixon

October 2015: Creating a Welcoming Atlanta Interview with Luisa Cardona

September 2015: Third-Annual Red, White and NEW Event Exceeds Fundraising and Advocacy Goals by Kelley Lugo

August 2015: Patti Garrett – August 2015 Food for Thought by Patti Garrett

July 2015: Engaging International Families in Parent Groups by Patti Ghezzi

June 2015: Reflecting on the Fourth of July by Kevin Abel

May 2015: Looking Back on Iraq by Whitney Kweskin

April 2015: All Hail Hall by Spencer Hall

March 2015: Honoring our Volunteers by Adriana Varela

February 2015: Celebrating New Americans by Charles Barnwell and Bob Glick

January 2015: What Refugees Leave Behind by Wendy Cheeks

December 2014: Welcoming Week in Atlanta by Emily Pelton

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