Tag Archives: politics

Black Lives Matter

Y’all.  It’s been a really long week.  I think for everyone.

(Fair warning, I’m not going to talk about knitting this week.  I usually try to keep my personal politics out of the blog, but sometimes you just can’t do that.  If I didn’t mention everything that’s been going on, it would be the next thing to dishonesty.  If you’re not up for it, feel free to come back next week.)

It’s hard for me to know what to say, and since I’m a very white person, in a very white part of the country, working in a very white industry, I know my perspective on the events of the last week/month/year/entire history of our country is not necessarily what we need right now.

But, since I have this platform, regardless of how small it may be, I wanted to stand up and say that black lives matter, and the systematic racism in the United States (especially in the police force) is just not acceptable.  It’s horrifying that we had to lose so many lives, to have so many examples of the inhuman treatment of black and brown Americans at the hands of the police before we as the (white) community said “no more.”  I’m ashamed of my community’s (and my own) inaction and complacency, and deeply disturbed that this has been the norm for so many without me really registering what has been going on.

But me wallowing in my feelings isn’t going to do much.  I (and everyone else who wants change) have to get in gear and change our behavior.

Here’s what I’m doing/planing to do:

  1. Give money.  We’re lucky enough to have some extra cash, so we’ve donated to our local chapter of Black Lives Matter and supported our local bail fund to help folks who can’t otherwise afford bail stay out of jail (especially important in a pandemic).
  2. Educate myself.  I’m going to watch, read and listen to black voices tell their stories and history.  I consider myself a pretty well-educated person, but the little I’ve learned in the last week has really shown me how much of a blind spot I have when it comes to black and brown history in America. These lists seem like a good place to start:
  3. Protest, sign petitions and generally stay more on top of current events.  I’m not able to go to protests right now, but I’m going to be doing my best to make up for it by doing whatever activism I can from my computer.  I will follow activists and organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement on social media (and actually read what they are saying, not just pass them by).  I will stay updated by listening to reputable news outlets and paying attention to the sourcing on stories that I see online.  I will keep an eye out for anything that I can help with- I know I’m just one person, but sometimes just one more person, one more call, or one more signature is all it takes.
  4. Pay more attention to how I’m raising my kid.  Like I mentioned above, we live in a very white neighborhood in a very white city.  I hadn’t paid too much attention to how that’s been impacting my kid or my parenting.  In the last week, I’ve realized that almost all his (human-ish) toys are white, or white-passing, and he only has a handful of books that feature characters of color.  Sure, most of his toys are trucks, and most of his books are about animals, but that’s just an excuse.  I’m going to start expanding the diversity of his experience as much as possible (which, because of quarantine, is pretty much just toys and books).  He’s going to grow up to be a white man, and I want him to be as empathetic and aware of his country’s history as possible.  (Yes, I know he’s just 2 right now, but it’s not too early to start thinking about.)  If you’re raising small kids in a similar situation, I’ve been recommended these, which I intend to read/watch:

Thanks for listening to my “To-Do” list.  It feels like it isn’t enough, but it’s a start.  Let me know what you’re planning to do to help our country grow and become better.

Stay safe, be kind to each other and yourselves.

(Also, I would like to apologize if last week’s post’s timing seemed insensitive.  I usually write the blog a week or more before it posts- you never know what life’s going to throw at you with a toddler/pandemic/national civil unrest.  I didn’t get a chance to change last week’s post until after it had gone live, and wasn’t able to collect my thoughts enough to sit and type a post until today (June 5th).  Thank you for bearing with me.)

The Women’s March (and Pussyhats), One Year Later

I really try not to get too political on this blog.  After all, you come here for tips about weaving in ends, updates on how fast I’m making it through my latest pair of socks, and me griping about how bored I get when I pick a pattern with too much stockinette.  I get it.  You don’t want me hopping up on my soapbox every time someone in office does something I don’t like.  (Which is often- ask my husband.)

But today seems like a good day to break my politics-and-knitting-shouldn’t-mix rule.  It’s been just over a year since Trump’s inauguration, and (not really coincidentally), a year since the first Women’s March.

Last year, I got to march with my friends down in LA, where I knit and distributed a whole pile of Pussyhats.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the march this year, but you better believe I was there in spirit.  And I made sure towear my hat from last year all day (it’s the one I actually finished while marching last year).The last year has been filled with ups and downs of all varieties- issues with taxes and immigration, the widespread acknowledgment of sexual assault in, and questions of women’s healthcare.  But, there’s one story that’s been giving me a ton of hope lately.

2018 is an election year, and an important one.  Control of both the House and Senate are going to be very tightly contested (heck, the Senate is currently held by the Republicans by only 1 vote!), so this will be a situation where every vote really does matter.

And, with people starting to line up to run for office (state and local office, too- not just national), people have started noticing something amazing.

Women are stepping up to run for office in unprecedented numbers!

Now, of course, I’d never suggest you vote for a woman just because she’s a woman (the same way I’d never say you should vote for a man, just because of his gender).  But better representation of women and minorities can’t be a bad thing, right?  (Right now, only about 20% of representatives and senators are women!)

If you agree that more female representation in government is a good idea, you might want to take a peek at two groups that are helping women who want to run for election (from local office all the way up to national positions).She Should Run is a non-partisan non-profit that gives women the resources, knowledge and networking that they need to run, regardless of their ideology or party affiliation.  They encourage women to actively participate in politics and run for office, something that historically, women have been discouraged from participating in.

Emily’s List is a Democratic pro-choice group that works to give candidates the resources they need to mount successful campaigns.  In the last 15+ years, they have run hundreds of trainings for women interested in making a change in their communities and helped many campaigns become successful.  If you’re someone who thinks pro-choice issues are important, you can even go onto Emily’s List and look for your local candidates to see if they’ve been endorsed.

Anyway, I suppose it’s time for me to get off my soap box.  Don’t worry- my next post will be all about how I can’t stand working with tiny needles, or how my blanket is not growing nearly as fast as I wish it would.

Did you make it to the Women’s March this year?  Are you planning on voting in the November election (or are you running!)?

Pattern Spotlight: Pussyhat Project

You guys know I try not to get too political on this blog (though I seem to be less good at being apolitical lately).  But sometimes there’s something political that comes up that I simply can’t ignore.

And when that something political also happens to involve knitting, well… I can’t help myself.

So you all know what’s happening on Friday (Hint: someone new’s moving into the White House), but you might not know what’s happening on Saturday.

It’s the Women’s March on Washington (and, really, across the country-  take a look, I bet there’s going to be a March near you this weekend).  The March is in support of women’s rights, as well as inclusivity for all minorities- African Americans, Muslim Amerians, LGBTQ+ Americans and everyone else.  It’s going to be an amazing event, and I can’t wait to take part.

And, one of the grassroots symbols of this event is this goofy knit pink hat, the Pussyhat (like pussycat, get it?).  pussyhatprojectcoverIt’s a simple hat, but it means a lot.  First, it’s taking some very “feminine” things (the color pink, the act of hand-knitting) that have been underestimated and devalued, and turns them into a strong political statement.  Second, the hats are a visual marker of just how many women (and men) believe that women’s rights are important- I’ve already seen people around town wearing their Pussyhats.  More than 100,000 people have pledged to make hats already, and yarn stores across the country are running out of pink yarn!  And third, these hats are all handmade, all worked with care, thought, and love, by people who believe in the power of women and that we all (women, men, people of color, etc.) have an important role to play in this country.  And, in my mind, at least, that’s a powerful statement.86c0bfde-6956-4e87-957e-63787f2444d4I’ve already made three hats, but I plan to work up as many as I can in the time before Saturday.  I’ll keep one for myself, but I’ll give away the others to anyone who wants them.  They’re a small gesture, but they’re a great reminder of what we’re all fighting for- equality, respect, and the right to live our lives the way that is best for us.

If you’re interested in making a hat (or two or three), you can find the official instructions here.  Or, if you prefer to knit in the round (like me), here’s what I did:

Pussyhat In The Round

One size fits most adults

Materials:

  • US8 12-16″ cable needle
  • about 50g worsted weight yarn (pink)
  • Yarn needle

CO 80, and prepare to work in the round.  (K2, P2) around for 2 to 3 inches.  Then, K all sts until the hat measures about 8.5 inches from the CO edge.  Cut the yarn, leaving a very generous tail, and use the tail to sew up the top of the hat with the Kitchener stitch.  Weave in ends and block if desired.