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May 12, 2022

Lorena Kourousias (NYC) and Hannah Brancato (Baltimore, MD) of The Monument Quilt Project join us on this episode of Booklyn Calling to talk about creating public rituals of healing, undoing white supremacy culture, and how they transformed what started as an art project into a movement.

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The Monument Quilt, a project of Baltimore and Mexico City-based FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, is a collection of more than 3,000 stories by survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence and our allies, written, painted, and stitched onto red fabric. These stories literally blanket highly public, outdoor places to create and demand space to heal, and resist a singular narrative about sexual violence.

Lorena Kourousias (she/her) is the Executive Director of Mixteca Organization, Inc. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Hunter College. As many immigrants, Lorena represents the struggle and perseverance that comes with the immigration process and the various barriers that professional immigrants must face in the United States. Regardless of her advanced education (she holds two Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology), Lorena had to overcome a long process of revalidating her credential from Mexico, learning a new language, assimilating a new culture, overcome the physiological trauma that comes with the immigration process of re-starting her professional career.

Hannah Brancato (she/her) is an artist and educator based in Baltimore, who is dedicated to mobilizing visual culture to uproot and resist white supremacy and rape culture. She is co-founder of FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture and was part of the collective until 2020. Currently, Hannah is documenting the role of art in social justice work through her creative and teaching practice, and based on her recent project, is organizing a series of collaborative art-making workshops about the inheritance of white silence. In 2021, Brancato was a studio resident at VisArts, Montgomery College’s Fall 2021 Artist in Residence. She is a recipient of the Ruby’s Grant for her latest work, Dreamseeds, a collaboration with sound artist Sanahara Ama Chandra. Hannah is faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art, Towson University, and UMBC.

Booklyn Calling is made possible in part by funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the NY City Council.