I’m hugely active in local politics. I think most of you know that. It’s important to my business and my business community that some of us step up and be engaged. I’ve kept my position on national “issues” less public although a quick read through my bio / background, and it’s fairly obvious. I was in Peru in 2002 when the indigenous community I was living in protested a decision by their government to privatize something they considered a public resource. They rolled huge rocks into the roads and shut down the highways. We were told that out of respect, no one should travel during the protest. I saw people without the means to pay a lobbyist or think tank to speak for them speak up for themselves and make sure that they were heard. I began to understand that participating in a conversation can take different forms for different people and that protest was respected and honored outside of the United States in a way that we hadn’t quite captured here yet.
When we were asked a few weeks ago by several of you to participate in this project, I was hesitant to get involved. Its name bothered me, and honestly, I thought it was silly for us to wear a color associated with “girls.” Well, and you all know my distaste of pink. I was also worried about my business. I was worried about those who would be offended by our involvement. While I can use my business as a platform, I have to pay our mortgage on our home and support my family. I am half of that family’s income.
And then we sold out of all pink yarn last week. We ordered more, and you all bought it.
Then more of you called. And then the project itself reached out. So I asked questions. What did we have to do? Where would the hats come from? How would people know where to get them?
I realized that here was my community asking for me to support them in this project. And even though not all of you have anything to do with it, a lot of you do. And while many of you won’t march, many of you will. I realized that we are a community space for everyone, whether they need a quiet space to feed their baby, a break from work or family, or a place to drop or pick up hats for a march / protest you plan to attend.
So we signed up. And then this crazy thing happened…our phone started to ring. Hundreds of people came through the door. Hundreds of new faces that had never been in the shop stopped in to get a hat, grab a class list, see all of you here hanging out and knitting. And then hundreds more came in to make hats – some avid knitters or crocheters and some who hadn’t picked up needles in years but were inspired by the project and decided to take it up again.
And then the hats showed up..bags and bags of hats from around the world. Literally AROUND THE WORLD. Each one was sealed in a bag with a note from the maker. The notes told the recipient why they made the hat. They wished them safety and warmth during the march. They stated what they were concerned about or what human right they wanted protected. They had emails and phone numbers, so that the recipient could send back a photo of them wearing the hat. I was moved. It was incredible. And then I realized that the project wasn’t simply about putting pink on heads during a march. It was about connecting the makers who could not march with those that were able to. They could be part of it without being present. So thank you to the organizers of this project and a big thank you to those that pushed me to support it. I’m here for your next community effort too. The stitcher community is a large and powerful thing, and I am humbled to be part of it.
Here’s a glimpse for those that haven’t seen any of them yet: