A Call to Craftivist Action

A year + into 45’s reign of chaos. There have been so many outrages, so many reversals of policies that had made America an admired and respected country. So much lying and graft, so much collusion and racism. So many reasons to march, to resist, to protest, to make our outraged voices heard. I’m exhausted by the tsunami of 45’s draconian rule. But  now, there has been another school shooting by a teenager with a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, leaving 17 dead and many wounded. I feel called to action.

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I hold the victims and their families in my “thoughts & prayers,” despite the accurate scorn that thoughts and prayers are not enough. How could I see the faces, learn the details and NOT hold victims and their families deep in my heart?

And I agree wholeheartedly that thoughts & prayers are not enough. I’ve put my money to work with Everytown for Gun Safety, hoping that by gathering together donations and votes, common sense people can rid our states and our country of the NRA-bought legislators who protect the right to buy and own semiautomatic weapons of war over the right to live in safety in public in America.ParklandVictims

But I’ll also respond directly through craft to the Parkland shooting survivors who have called, “Enough! No more BS. Enough!” The students have organized marches and trips to the nation’s and to state capitals where they’re calling for an end to the sale of semiautomatic weapons like the AR-15. The March for Our Lives will take place March 24th, and there is another march, the National High School Walkout, on April 20th. I’m fired up and using my craftivist soul to make headbands and gloves for the marchers, like I made Pussy Hats for the women’s march in 2017.

Krista Suh, creator of the Pussyhat Project, and Kat Coyle, the designer of the original Pussy Power Hat, have put out a free pattern to make “Evil Eye Fingerless Gloves” for the March for Our Lives marchers to wear. The dream Krista had when she thought of this pattern was to have marchers hold their hands up (as in surrender), with the eyes in the palms of the hands, so that there would be a sea of eyes looking forward, seeing all, a sea of eyes demanding change. She called that vision, “A Sea of Change,” with the intentional double-entente. EvilEye.Gloves

The colors of the gloves include the blue which is the main color of the march paraphernalia for the March for Our Lives here in DC, and around the country, and also the color of the Evil Eye.

SeaOfEyesThe Evil Eye talisman dates from ancient times, and exists in different forms in many cultures to this day. No matter the form, the talismans exist to turn away evil, or bad fortune. I hope that on March 24th, the Evil Eye Gloves will both turn away evil, and provide a powerful message that cannot be ignored: ENOUGH MURDER! GUN CONTROL, NOW!

“Handmade objects are able to resonate deeply with people because craft allows us to transform emotion into a tangible object.”–Betsy Greer

I’ve also started knitting for the National High School Walkout, on April 20th, the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.  I’m making Donna Druchunas“Enough!! We call BS!” Headband, making it with orange as the main color chosen by the organizers of the march. I used a pale green as the contrasting color as it was advertised to be glow-in-the-dark yarn. But that was years ago, I guess, because the green doesn’t glow at night now. Still, it’s a nice contrast to the orange.

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As I knit this headband, especially the two Baltic Braids running horizontally along the sides, I was entranced by the intertwining of colors forming the interlocking stitches. I thought about how each interlocked twist of colors was like the connections we make–especially in high school–which influence our character for a lifetime. In fact, the braids look very much like friendship bracelets that kids make out of cotton thread and exchange with each other as symbols of their friendship.

I was in high school during the Vietnam War when I became an activist, and organizer. I was not “political,” as much as active and vocal in protesting the wrongs I saw. On the first Earth Day in 1970, I organized a march in our community, picking up trash wearing a gas mask (to raise awareness of the pollution of the Earth). I gathered others to participate in anti-war rallies on the DC Mall. I burned my senior class ranking card along with male classmates burning their draft cards, chanting, “Hell no! We won’t go!”

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I wore peace symbols and wrote letters to senators protesting the war, and was elected Senior Class President by promising to end the war and to bring all the troops home–and to have free rock concerts on school grounds. [Note to readers: The war was ended–yes, not on my time schedule–and the troops did come home. Who’s to say I didn’t play some role in all that?] My graduation speech urged my classmates to go forth and work to make the world a better place, corny as that may sound now.

“Start by making this world a better place slowly, even if it’s just stitch by stitch by stitch. Each of your actions causes a ripple effect, just as each move of your hand around the needles causes a stitch–they create something that wasn’t there before, sending creativity, hope, and light out into the world.” –Betsy Greer

When I attended my 40th high school reunion, I was moved by how many old (in all meanings of that word) classmates had indeed made the world a better place–one had been an EPA lawyer who helped write and pass the Clean Air regulations. Others were doctors, social workers, and teachers. They wanted to talk to me about how great it was forty years ago, to have done the things we did in united in protest.

As I knit the headband, I meditated in sorrow for 17 Parkland students who would never exchange friendship bracelets with anyone again. And for the hundreds more people in the victims’ networks–their friends, their families, people they would have met as they grew older–people who would never again bond in friendship, love, or inspiration and mentorship with the deceased kids. Each death was as though one-by-one, each of the twists in the braids I was knitting suddenly burst, breaking apart, the threads unraveling uselessly.

But not on my watch! My needles keep at it. Stitch by stitch, I weave together the threads, tightening the bonds, remembering the children, their families, and the reasons we must march, we must vote out those in power who allow weapons of war in our schools and churches. ENOUGH!

“I think every act of making is an act of revolution. It is stopping the rush of time… and taking time to understand how something is made and making it with meditation.” –Bryant Holsenbeck

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