News & Politics

Quilters Make the Case for DC Statehood

Their work is pretty, political—and cozy!

Last year, DC statehood advocates asked quilters around the country to represent the city’s aspirations in fabric. More than 50 answered the call, and now the quilts are being shown around Washington. We talked to Barbara Garlock, a retired nonprofit exec who helped organize the project with the League of Women Voters.


1. “Vote!,” Julie Hochsztein

Hochsztein, who works at a campaign-finance-law watchdog organization, has created a quilt that’s “technically superb,” Garlock says.


2. “DC—We Are America,” Sandy Hassan

A DC resident and Howard grad, Hassan used spare bits of African cloth to create this assemblage.


3. “Map of DC,” Sheryl Whitmore

Garlock adores this piece by a Maine quilter, who cleverly transforms the Potomac and Anacostia rivers into cherry-blossom branches.


4. “51–52,” Aynex Mercado

By also calling for Puerto Rican statehood, it’s a reminder, Garlock says, that “there are other places in our country where democracy does not prevail.”


5. “Equal Treatment,” Leanne Chase

Chase, who lives in Wichita, hopes her local League of Women Voters will stage a similar project to highlight how restrictive voting laws are affecting Kansans.


6. “Justice = DC Statehood,” Ruth Smith

This quilt, from California, incorporates DC’s motto. The hands represent Washington’s diversity.


7. “DC—Statehood 51,” Gwendolyn Jackson

The local quilter’s red-and-white design is “graphically great,” Garlock says, and the stitching lends a sense of motion.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. He lives in Del Ray.