This is a guest post from Amanda K. Metskas, President of the Secular Coalition for America.
When I learned to knit more than 10 years ago, I never envisioned it would be relevant in my professional life. But with the results of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, now I am knitting to make a difference.
The #KnitABrick campaign came to us at the Secular Coalition for America in a staff meeting as we were brainstorming ways to raise awareness. We wanted to encourage people to do something productive, and since Hobby Lobby is a chain of craft stores, we soon had the idea to encourage “secular craftivism.” You can join us on our Facebook event, and craft and mail bricks to our office.
Secular craftivism includes buying your craft supplies somewhere other than Hobby Lobby and putting your needles and yarn to use to make a statement about real religious freedom: health care shouldn’t be based on an employer’s religious beliefs. We needed a clever hashtag to get attention for our campaign on social media and with that, #KnitABrick was born.
Since, our little campaign has burgeoned into a real movement. We’ve been mentioned in the Washington Post and the National Review, among other publications. People have responded in droves with bricks pouring into our office from all over the world – from places as far away as South Korea and Switzerland.
It has been incredibly touching and exciting to see who is sending in the bricks and why. We’ve gotten heartfelt letters from women and men all over the globe about why reproductive rights and true religious freedom are important to them and their partners.
We’ve gotten bricks knitted by 9-year-old boys. The Secular Coalition for Rhode Island came together and sent us 30 bricks. We’ve received bricks that are quilted, crocheted, and made from yarn that is every color in the rainbow. We’ve gotten bricks from people who learned to knit just so they could #KnitABrick, and we’ve gotten bricks with amazing detail work from expert craftivists.
It has gotten so that our favorite time of day at the office is when the mail arrives and we open up the packages of bricks—we’ve had days where we received more than 75 at a time. And as of yesterday we’ve officially surpassed our first goal of 400 bricks.
People of the less fibre-arts-oriented persuasion have been sponsoring bricks – including 11 awesome people who sponsored me to knit a brick for $100 each, and many more who sponsored interns and staff members to knit bricks for $10 or $25.
Our campaign goes until August 5th, 2014, which happens to be my birthday. For my birthday, please make me #KnitABrick for you. We’ll post a picture with your brick to our Facebook event.
Once we have the bricks in, we’re going to invite people to our office to seam them together – we’re joining as a secular community to rebuild the wall of separation between church and state, one knitted brick at a time.
Some people may say this is silly, and that knitting is not going to change anything, but they are wrong. It’s easy to feel powerless and disillusioned as we browse Facebook and feel outraged about problems that seem beyond our ability to influence. The #KnitABrick campaign is a way to creatively come together and fight that feeling of powerlessness. This campaign concretely demonstrates the ability of regular people all over this country to come together and send a message to our government.
So join us – #KnitABrick, sponsor a brick, share your #KnitABrick story online. You can knit the secular community together with your craftivism. Send bricks to 1012 14th St. NW, Suite 205, Washington, DC 20005.
Amanda K. Metskas is the President of the Secular Coalition for America and currently serves as the acting chief executive, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Coalition on an interim basis. Metskas has served on the Secular Coalition Board of Directors since 2009, including in roles as Vice President (2013) and President beginning in January of 2014. Metskas has served as the Executive Director of Camp Quest, one of the Secular Coalition’s voting member organizations, and Vice President of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. In 2009, Metskas co-authored “Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief”, with Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura and Jan Devor. She holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brown University.