Bread and Roses
In the past two months I've spend a fair amount of time thinking of how our new reality shapes my work. For the past 4 years it feels as thought we have fought unceasingly to stop an erosion of the most basic of rights. We now have time for a more balanced life. We must continue to advocate for progress but we also need to nourish our souls. For everyone that looks a little different. For me, it means a little less Sheroes and reintroducing my Mayflower series.
As I have started doing this I keep thinking of the tradition of singing 'Bread and Roses' at my Alma Mater, Mount Holyoke College during graduations Laurel Parade. Mount Holyoke is the oldest Seven Sister in America, and as such taught an appreciation for the suffrage movement. The phrase 'Bread and Roses' originated from a speech given by Helen Todd in 1910. In her speech Todd proclaimed, “Not at once; but woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life's Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice.”
(Image is from the last time I was at MHC for graduation. The photo is of Seniors placing a Laurel Rope on our founders grave. It is during the Laurel Parade we all sing 'Bread and Roses')
I feel like this encapsulates my work right now and I hope everyone enjoys it. I leave you with the lyrics of the song by James Oppenheimer that we sing at Mount Holyoke.
As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day, A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses, For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."
As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men— For they are women's children and we mother them again. Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes— Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread; Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew— Yes, it is Bread we fight for—but we fight for Roses, too.
As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days— The rising of the women means the rising of the race— No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes— But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.