Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Welcome to the Panel Project!

Since most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth and their straight allies won't be able to vote on November 7th, the Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools (GSASS) wondered what they would tell voters about the proposed ban on civil unions and same-sex marriage if they had the chance. So we gave them that chance and asked them to submit their responses in the form of decorated fabric squares.

Orange Banner 1

The idea of using fabric squares was suggested by student Michaela Simmons. After running the idea by a small team of student planners, the Panel Project was born.

"I have a voice and I will use it" - Michaela Simmons

Between August and October GSASS has gathered nearly 200 panels from students and adult allies from across the state. Students created panels at leadership camps, community-based social groups, and school-based gay-straight alliances (GSAs) and other clubs.

A crew of adult allies (Shari Zeldin, Jo Jensen, Amy Walend, and Geri Torti) assembled the first 72 squares into a series of six banners, which we are sharing with community partners for display. A second set will be assembled soon. Until then all squares we have received are displayed below. Please feel free to leave comments for the artists.

Our sewers: Amy Walden, Shari Zeldin, and Jo Jensen (Geri Torti not pictured)

Our hope is that the Panel Project provides at least one vehicle for Wisconsin LGBTQ youth and their straight allies to express their hopes, fears, and determination in regard to the ban and their future. We also hope that all people will take the time to hear the wisdom and truth expressed through the panels.

Completed banners on display at Orchard Ridge United Church of Christ, Madison.

If you are interested in displaying one or more of the completed panels after November 7th, please contact Brian J. at or 608.661.4141.

(Special thanks to Mo, Cassie, Carrie, Katie, and Amy for their work putting this blog together. You all are rock stars.)