October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which is a great day to celebrate Mental Well-being and also to take special note of mental health in our own lives and of those in our community. A day to specially reach out to others and ask “Are you ok?”.
Jane Bernauer, a member of the LSMQG, recently share a great project that she has been working on related to mental health. The project itself is the Remembrance Project through Social Justice Sewing Academy in California. Volunteers are given the names of people whose lives were taken by community violence, race-based violence, law enforcement, and gender or sexuality based violence. Quilt blocks are then created based on these individuals. The blocks will be displayed throughout the country during community activism events to remind the world that their lives mattered.
Jane was given the name of Alfred “Abuka” Sanders because he was from Minneapolis, MN. She researched him online and also spoke to his son now 27, who was only 7 when his father was killed. Here is Jane’s block and Abuka’s story as it relates to mental illness.
The green ribbon as shown on the quilt block represents mental health, however mental health issues were just one small part of who Alfred “Abuka” Sanders was. A 29-year-old father of four young children, Abuka was well-loved in his neighborhood where he was legendary for helping his elderly neighbors. He was an entrepreneur, a local musician, and a community leader with a warm and positive presence. However, on the morning of November 1, 2000, police accused him of driving erratically and confronted him in the alley near his home. In spite of the fact that the officers had been advised that Sanders was a possible crisis candidate, thirty-three shots were fired at Abuka who was unarmed and had committed no crime. He died at the scene. Sanders’ death was one of a cluster of deaths that prompted the Minneapolis Police Department to pursue mental health crisis training for officers. Mental health training for officers and members of the community is crucial to ensure that we all can take care of our community in the best way and safest way possible.
Remember to reach out to family, friends or community member if they don’t look themselves. And don’t forget to reach out to others if you need help. Asking for help is very courageous and very important.
The Lake Superior Modern Quilt Guild meets the
2nd Thursday each month from 6pm-8pm at
McTavish Quilting Studio & Fabric (1831 E 8th St in Duluth).