Last night, the Virginia Arts of the Book Center sponsored a one night exhibition of the Triangle Fire and Bangladesh Garment Workers Memorial Quilts. I wasn’t able to attend since I had plans to see my friend’s play, but I still wanted to mention it here.
The quilts were designed by Robin Berson, a labor rights activist associated with the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition based in New York. Before the 2013 collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh that killed 1,133 people, The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 was the deadliest factory disaster in the history of the industry. The owners of the Manhattan-based building were indicted for manslaughter, but were acquitted. The incident is responsible for improving safety standards in New York and in the country at large. The Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition was formed in the years leading up to the 100 year anniversary of the tragedy and works to promote universal worker dignity and safety. The Bangladesh Garment Workers Quilt commemorates the lives lost in the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen fire.
The handmade quilts serve as a moving reminder that we are all connected by the stitches that make our garments. We are all responsible for worker safety.
For more information about the Rana Plaza disaster, read my article for Relevant.