I (Virginia) was fortunate enough to march with my friends on Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. I found myself traveling with a Thai immigrant who voted for the first time on November 8, 2016, a Cuban-American who has spent most of her adult life fighting for the disenfranchised, and a die-hard Vermont Bernie-supporter. We have all known (or known of) each other for years now. We have never gone an epic road-trip together or attended a political rally with one another. We all wanted to March on Washington. We all are makers.
With Military Precision
We knit our pussy hats. We also knit many of them for our friends as well as for strangers. We were knitting them on the way to D.C. from Cambridge. We passed them out on the silver line from Dulles to the Smithsonian. And we were proud af to put them on and chant, "Our bodies. Our choice." I had many conversations about the implications of wearing a "neon pink pussy hat" with gather here customers - seriously, no one thinks any of you (even the women who are descendants of Mayflower immigrants) have neon pink vaginas. The four of us all independently chose raspberry yarn. Not because that's the color of any of our anatomies (not that I asked) but because we connected with the yarn. My hat is knit from Catskill Merino, grown in in NY, and dyed in cochineal and held double with Manos del Uruguay silk blend in "shocking". The Catskill Merino was purchased on my first pilgrimage to Rhinebeck with my badass business lady-friend, Amy of Knit Collage. I think of that trip fondly when I'm tired and overwhelmed. I knew she wouldn't be able to march so I chose a yarn that would bring her with me.
We saw so many people wearing pink hats. Some had been sewn. Some crocheted. Some made from recycled sweaters and felted. Handmade. Hand-stitched. I felt pride in our fiber community. Similar to when we all decided to make comfort quilts for Pulse Nightclub victims and their families. Or the Quilts for Boston campaign. Here is a community that will stitch all night for someone, likely a total stranger, so they can exercise their right to assemble and march for women's rights/human rights/refugee rights/healthcare. Sure, there are some that wish the hats weren't pink but let me tell you, *we* could be seen. The power of handmade glowed in all of those aerial shots of the marches in cities across the world.
The sense of urgency to "make something", to knit/crochet/sew a pink hat was what fueled so many of us searching for some way to "do something" prior to the Inauguration. And in "making something" you have left a mark on history. Your handmade hats were a part of something truly historic - one of the largest protests in America. They estimate that between 3 and 4 million people marched worldwide. That is something to be proud of. Your focus and your energy put the spotlight on creating something.
So in the aftermath, when "they" question how we could have churned out that many pink (and red, mauve, raspberry, blush, pinot, plum, azalea, and every magenta shade on the spectrum) hats, do NOT let them strip you of your pride. You have every reason to be proud of this moment. You have every right to be proud of what YOU MADE WITH YOUR HANDS. And I can't wait to see what you'll make next. I have no doubt the energy and focus we channeled into pussy hats will be directed towards major change - this wasn't a moment, it was a movement. I believe in YOU.
With pride and love,