Sara Trail learned to sew at the young age of 4, and is now a successful author, sewing teacher and pattern and fabric designer. At age 13, she wrote a nationally published book, “Sew with Sara” that teaches teens and tweens how to sew cute clothes and accessories for fun and profit. At 15, she starred in a nationally published DVDs, “Cool stuff to Sew With Sara.” She then designed two fabric collections, Folkheart and Biology 101 a pattern collection with Simplicity, “Designed with Love by Sara.” Her pattern collection features prom dresses, backpack patterns, hoodies and jackets as well as aprons and tote bags. While attending UC Berkeley, Sara created a quilt in memory of Trayvon Martin and her love for sewing and passion for social justice intertwined. After graduating from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, she founded the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) to be a platform where youth create art that engages and educates communities.
Nancy Williams Longarm Quilter
I have been sewing for more years than I care to say - clothing for the kids and grands; a few wedding dresses; some tailoring. I began piecing quilts about 30 years ago mostly quilting them on my domestic machine. After purchasing a long-arm quilting machine, I have been honing my art and my skills on personal quilts, donation quilts and quilts of those I am honored to be trusted with. When Sara put out a request for long arm quilters, I said I do that! We connected and, since then, I feel so fortunate to have been trusted to quilt these thoughtful, deeply moving blocks made by students and artfully embellished by a virtual army of talented embroiderers. Take a look at my website for more information about my long arming services.
Jeannine La Bate is a visual art and fashion design educator committed to impacting student’s civic responsibilities and forming curiosities about the many expressions of humanity. A highlight of growing up on Long Island was riding the train into New York City, absorbing the range of personal styles and professional appearances through commuter’s wardrobe choices. This ignited her fascination with the role that textiles could play in forming identities. Jeannine learned about SJSA while attending graduate school at Illinois State University and became an embroidery volunteer. During her studies there she also participated in a six-week activism workshop where she learned the significance in assuming the role of active listener, the responsibility in developing the disposition of an ally/accomplice and to embrace a feminist perspective working for racial and gender equality. SJSA provides a unique opportunity for Jeannine to engage in a craft community and social justice activism beyond local/regional experiences to a national/international level.
Kate Godfrey Publication Director
Kate Godfrey has been designing and producing publications since high school when she feel in love with journalism as a cub reporter for the Arizona Daily Star and saw her first story typeset and published. Her work as a graphic designer has appeared in Parenting, Diablo, PCWorld, and Macworld magazines. Kate loves how design helps stories reach a wider audience while building understanding and hope. She can be found with needle in hand as an SJSA volunteer embroiderer when not designing and producing guides and publications for our organization.
Robin Gadient grew up on the islands of Oahu and Maui in Hawaii where the word “ohana” was not a catch phrase from a Disney movie but a way of life, an acknowledgement of connection and community. Nevertheless, she was considered a “haole”, a foreigner, a white colonizer among the many different races living there. It was these early childhood experiences that informed Robin’s understanding of positionality and inspired her to seek social justice for all people. Being white in a brown land meant understanding both your relative privilege and necessary reverence for those who came before you. She carried this ideology— a deep respect and thirst for understanding— with her to the mainland when she began her studies at UC Santa Barbara. Robin is a mother, a poet, and an educator, and as the Creative Director of SJSA, she brings the entirety of herself to the work of advocating social justice through the deployment of creative artistry. A life long creative— every endeavor she undertakes is imbued with empathy and the understanding that through creating opportunities for others to grow and learn- we create opportunities to change our world.
Colleen Haraden Operations Director
Colleen Haraden has been loving art and craft since she was a kid. She initially studied art in college, but switched to geology, currently working in the water resources field. She is an avid textile artist, painter, and all-around-maker. She has taught private sewing and has worked with elementary-aged children making community quilts. As a white mom of two adopted African American children, she has a unique perspective on racism as she has seen the negative impacts of racial bias – both implicit and explicit – on her children. Therefore, she’s driven to fight for social change. She sees the ‘craftivism’ movement as a vehicle of under-represented communities to be seen and heard. Colleen sees the world as it is - but is fueled by a true vision of equity.
Suzanne Schmidt Education Director
As Education Director for SJSA, Suzanne Schmidt, Ph.D consults on teaching and learning strategies for SJSA workshops and public programs. She is a writer, professor, parent and active community member who teaches in the School of Liberal Arts at Saint Mary's College of California. Suzanne was a 2016-17 Citizenship Fellow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and is a member of the Coordinating Committee of Rice and Beans Preschool Cooperative, a social justice preschool in Oakland, CA. She taught drop-in sewing/ESL classes at Southwest Youth and Family Services in Seattle, WA, while completing her Ph.D. in English literature (with a focus on craft!).
Social Justice Sewing Academy PO Box 2473 Antioch, CA 94531