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If all Lives Matter ‘Cause We’re All Equal, Why Are Some Lives More Equal Than Others?

Dey Hernández, Jorge Díaz Ortiz and Sylvia Hernández

This Cantastoria (picture storytelling with song) uses a handmade quilt to trace the history of the Prison Industrial Complex from slavery to mass incarceration and the killing of Black and Brown people by police in the U.S. The project is a collaboration with self-taught quilter Sylvia Hernandez and community-based organization El Puente. The piece was first performed at El Puente’s annual ¡WEPA! Festival for Southside Performing Arts, and a second time with youth artists of El Puente’s For The Movement Theatre Collective (FTM), both in the Southside of Williamsburg (Los Sures), Brooklyn. Cantastoria text by @canocangejo, quilt design by @arkitectita and quilt made by @quiltgirl61 for @agitarte_cultural_works.


A colorful, detailed montage of various images: On the left a Black woman with a colorful wrap in her hair holds a baby; a hand reaches from a jail cell window; a “Caution” sign with silhouettes of a fleeing family; a freight train with boxcars; and ICE police arrest a person. In the center we see the back of a handcuffed Black man dressed in an orange jumpsuit with a red and white target on his back. A crowd of protestors hold “BLACK LIVES MATTER”, “END WHITE SUPREMACY” placards.  Images of barbed wire and prisons, a helicopter flying over a fenced-off Senate building, and a carceral school setting populate the right side of the image. Below, the text reads: “If all Lives Matter ‘Cause We’re All Equal, Why Are Some Lives More Equal Than Others?”

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