Like all local Leagues, The Mid-Shore League of Women Voters (LWVMS) wanted to have a special event during 2020 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of theNineteenth Amendment and the establishment of the League of Women Voters. The Sash Project came about during a leadership team meeting in January when team members passed around a sash I had purchased online. Everyone liked it. Our co-convener, Glenna Heckathorn suggested that her friend and fellow Yogi, Anne McAnulty, might be willing to make some sashes for the LWVMS. Glenna had served on the Board of Coastal Hospice and knew that Anne’s quilting group had donated several quilts to Coastal Hospice for Veterans on Veterans Day. Anne’s reaction was immediate. She simply asked, “How many do you need?”
Over the winter months, Anne made 20 beautiful sashes, which were carefully lettered by my husband George with the help of our daughter, Juliana, and her 3D printer. Each sash shows the traditional colors of the (American) National Woman’s Party: purple, white and gold. As stated by the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage: "Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving."
Finding a good use for the 20 sashes was a challenge. The corona virus changed everything. There wouldn’t be any parades or large gatherings where we could proudly march with our sashes. Sunnyside, a popular woman’s fair-trade shop, agreed to display sashes on their mannequins when it was allowed to reopen. It wasn’t until late spring, however, when we could approach other shopkeepers in downtown Cambridge about displaying the sashes. Their reaction to the vibrant colors and local craftsmanship, was positive. Danielle Van Riel, owner of salon Mirror Mirror, was among the first. “You’ve made my day,” she said and went straight to the windows to place two sashes on her mannequins. In less than two weeks, more than 10 shops agreed to display the sashes with a short, framed explanation of the project. From the Dorchester Center for the Arts (DCA) on High Street, down Poplar and Race Streets, shoppers see the sashes in shop windows and are reminded of women’s struggle for the right to vote and the work of our local League. Even the Simmons Center Market’s mascot, a rabbit named Lilly, wears a suffrage sash in time for the Fourth of July and the “Women in the World” exhibit at the DCA which runs July 3-25 (dorchesterarts.org).
Many thanks to Anne McAnulty and the hard-working shopkeepers in downtown Cambridge without whom the LWVMS could not have safely and publicly celebrated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment and the establishment of the League of Women Voters.