We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere

I came across this remarkable way to challenge racism in our public spaces, and now I want this to be a thing in Seattle.

The Yarn Mission seeks to “use yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression”. The group, founded by CheyOnna Sewell, a PhD student in criminology, seeks to spark conversation about race and police brutality by engaging with curious passersby as they knit, all while providing a comforting activity for beleaguered activists.

“As a black woman, you’re invisible,” says Taylor Payne, a member of the group. “But knitting makes people stop and have a conversation with you. If someone asks me what I’m doing, I say, ‘I’m knitting for black liberation.’ Sometimes they respond and sometimes I just get ‘Oh, my grandma knits,’ like the person didn’t hear me. But at least it opens the door to talking about my experiences.”

Okay, so I can’t knit, but I sew. I’m sure there’s all kinds of crafts a person could do in a public space that would open up opportunities for these sorts of conversations. If any women of color start up anything like this and would like a white woman along for dealing with white fragility, I’m down with it. We could also get together groups that confront other issues: bigotry against trans people, reproductive rights, all sorts of things.

If you’re interested, let me know.

Image shows me sitting in a booth, sewing silver trim to a blue and black wizard outfit sleeve.
Sewing a costume in a Mexican restaurant. Just think: Someday, there could be a bunch of us! Photo courtesy Starspider.
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We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere
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2 thoughts on “We Need This in Seattle – And Everywhere

  1. 1

    Dana:

    If any women of color start up anything like this and would like a white woman along for dealing with white fragility, I’m down with it.

    I’m curious-how would you handle it? I imagine you’ve given thought to how you’d respond to those frail egos, and I’m dying to know.

  2. 2

    I suspect it probably depends on how the fragility manifests.
    But a good tip I got from someone recently is to start with
    “I know. I used to think that…and I’ve changed my mind”
    or “and now I believe I was wrong”, or what-have-you. And then, one hopes, continue on with why one’s views changed.
    It doesn’t always work to replace a “but” with “and”, but (ha! see!) it does make some sense here.
    That’s obviously for good-faith dialogue-seekers.
    No reason we couldn’t pack the clue-bats and clue-by-fours in the workbag as well!

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