The dream of Esther Pancho, quilter/teacher, became a reality when the first meeting of the African American Quilt Guild of Oakland was held in June 2000. Those in attendance were Esther, Pat Campos, Noni Iddeen, Nancy Johnson, N’Sombi Mohammed, Dolores Vitero Presley, Lujuan Thompson, Julia Vitero, Virgie Vitero and Wilma Williams.
Honoraria received for Esther’s participation in the Oakland Museum Black History Month event was used to open our bank account. Our first officers were: President-Esther Pancho, Secretary-Dolores Vitero Presley, Treasurer-Julia Vitero, Community-Pat Campos, Newsletter-Lujuan Thompson, Program-Nancy Johnson. Committees were established as were meeting times and meeting content. Information regarding the Guild was sent to local newspapers encouraging others to join.
In exchange for using library as meeting space, the Guild agreed to have a community workshop in January and an exhibit in February. This was the beginning of our Annual Black History Month Workshop.
During our first year By-Laws and Standing Rules were written and approved. These were needed to provide documentation for securing a nonprofit status which was accomplished in later years. A design for the Guild logo was adopted for use on letterhead and membership cards.
Merchants and businesses were contacted and asked to give discount to Guild members. Individual reference book lists and favorite quilting stores lists were collected for sharing with the membership.
Classes for beginners were established and a sampler quilt was started with each individual making a block.
In our first year we participated in several events including:
Quilt exhibit in West Oakland Branch Library
Senior Resource Fair
Quilt exhibit and workshop in West Oakland Branch Library
Display of quilts at San Pablo Senior Residence
Donation of quilts for premature babies
We ended our first year with eleven paid members and many interested friends. Our goal at that time was to continue to grow and focus on documenting history, culture and stories of quilters.