While serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA for GHCC in 2008, Rebecca Nagle gained an invaluable set of skills that ultimately propelled her into becoming a community organizer and activist who has achieved local and national success in creating campaigns to prevent sexual violence. Even though she is very, very busy these days, Rebecca took some time to fill us in on her current projects – including the Monument Quilt for which she is currently raising money.
I came to Baltimore to attend the Maryland Institute College or Art. I was a Fibers Major. I worked at GHCC the year after I graduated as a VISTA (Volunteer in Service to Ameria). I knew I wanted to stay in Baltimore and was looking for a job where I could work in communities. I was impressed by not only what GHCC did, but the work that I would be able to do as a VISTA.
How did the experience of being a VISTA help shape your career path?
GHCC was one of the first places I learned about community organizing and I have taken that experience to so many other places. From the community organizing I do locally, to the activism I do nationally, the skills I picked up at GHCC have been invaluable.
What are you doing now?
I am the coordinator of the No Boundaries Coalition and the co-director of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture. The No Boundaries Coalition is a diverse network of residents working together to create a unified and empowered Central West Baltimore across the boundaries of race, class and neighborhoods. FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is an art and activist effort to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent. We are most well known for our PINK loves CONSENT prank, in which we pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting anti-rape consent-themed panties and thongs. The panty prank went viral, sparked an internet revolution, and got millions of people talking about consent.
FORCE is now in the middle of fundraising for its next big project: The Monument Quilt. The Monument Quilt will be a GIANT quilt containing stories from survivors of rape and abuse. We are in the final 4 days of their Kickstarter Campaign with 80% of the project already funded.
“The Monument Quilt” will occupy the lawn of the national mall, like the historic installations of the AIDs quilt for one weekend in the summer of 2014. The quilt will also be a GIANT picnic blanket that invites the public to sit, eat and talk. The installation of the quilt is part of a larger campaign to build a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse. We believe in building a national monument because we believe our country needs public and supportive spaces for survivors to heal. We see the monument as a necessary symbol for Americans to imagine a day without rape.
You can add your story to the Monument Quilt by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “My Story”. In your email, indicate what color you would like for your quilt square to be. And, if you would like to contribute to purchasing the materials for the quilt and the picnic, visit FORCE’s Kickstarter page to donate.