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Maybe I should have thought of it, and maybe I would have thought of it had I not launched three weeks after the idea struck. Initially The 70273 Project was a way to commemorate the lives of the 70,273 disabled people who were murdered at the hands of German Nazis in the early 1940s, and in the first two weeks it expanded into raising awareness of the disabled people who walk among us today, focusing not on their less than traits and abilities, but on how much they enrich and enhance our lives. So many people are stitching blocks and telling me stories about loved ones or friends who have disabilities. May it never stop – I can’t tell you how much I cherish those stories.

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Susan Graham told me of students she taught once upon a year, the memories of their specialness  – not special needs ’cause, shoot, we all have those – but the way they took over a piece of her heart and still lay claim to it many years later. She wanted to put their names on her blocks, and together we figured out a way to make her former students a part of the project without compromising my vision of the quilts with no names, no words to get in the way of commemorating the 70,273 souls.

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How? She made the blocks, then, using a red fabric marker, she wrote their names – one name per block and first name only – behind one of the X’s where it’s there but doesn’t show.

Another idea, should you long to make a loved one a lasting part of this project, is to stitch the names down on the white base, then lay down the two red X’s over it so that it’s completely covered.  If you’ve other ideas, do tell. All I ask is that the name not be visible from the front.

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And that you keep making blocks.

And sharing those stories.

And spreading the word and finding ways to get more people involved.

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Ways to stay in the know (I don’t post the same things everywhere.):

The 70273 Project Facebook page

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers on Facebook

Pinterest board

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