Julie Stevens, owner and chief operator of 17 Jewel Spa in North Oakland’s Temescal district was deeply shaken by the election results this November. She used that apprehension as motivation for a local high school project.

Shout Out 2017, as it has been called, is a quilting project designed for students at Oakland International High School. Each student will design a piece of fabric with whatever non-profane image or phrase they feel best represents their sentiments after the election.

Stevens will then take the patches to Washington DC on January 21, the day after the inauguration, and help safety pin them to the jackets of marchers during the Women’s March on Washington. After the march the fabric will be shipped back and they will all be quilted together.

Stevens said this would be a good way for young people, many of who cannot vote, to get their voices heard. She encouraged positivity in the messages but voiced some personal anxiety around our President-elect.

The project worked with two classrooms of varying ages, but all the students were engaged and visibly excited to share their sentiments.

Stevens drew inspiration from historical examples like the Gee Bend quilt and the more recent local example the AIDS quilt.

Students took quickly to the project, sketching and writing out elaborate images and phrases on scratch paper before finalizing them on fabric.

One young man was able to get an artfully crafted rough draft but didn’t have time to finish the drawing on fabric. He was passionate about it and decided to finish it on his own time and drop it off to Stevens personally. Her salon and spa are less than four blocks from Oakland International High School.

By Ian Firstenberg



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