On January 21st I marched with my friend Laurie, her mom Lillian, and several hundred thousand of our closest friends, in a sea of pink. It was an exciting and uplifting experience. All told, around the world, millions of women, men and children marched. We marched for many different reasons, but the universal message was: we are not going away, we will not be silent, we will make ourselves heard (cue Helen Reddy here), and you will pay attention to what we have to say.
We wore pink pussy hats - symbolizing an epithet that we chose to embrace rather than be disgraced by, and pink, the color of Barbie, and Easy Bake ovens and all of the domesticated toys intended to separate us from the boys. We marched in subversively knitted hats - as knitted hats have been since the days of the French Revolution.
Over a hundred years ago, women marched in Washington for the right to vote. It was the day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. As the women marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, they were harassed and assaulted by crowds of angry men, the DC police looking on. Crusading journalist Nellie Bly documented the events. Congressional hearings were called. The District of Columbia police chief was fired.
This was a turning point in the suffrage movement. Women made the news, and they stayed in the news - by such “militant” tactics as chaining themselves to the White House fence, and going on hunger strikes when they were jailed.
The colors of the 1913 women’s march were white and purple and gold - the colors of the National Woman’s Party. They wore these colors in sashes and cloaks and cockades and carried them in banners. The wore them for seven more years - until their cloaks were ragged and the banners were faded. They wore them until the 19th amendment was ratified on August 26th, 1920 - now celebrated as Women’s Equality Day.
On August 26th, wear purple and white and gold in honor of the suffragists who marched before us. You may also want to wear a pink hat.