Eight months ago, I created Pantsuit Nation on a whim — not as a political strategist with an agenda, but as a Hillary supporter, a mother, and an educator from rural Maine who was looking for a community of people with shared values and hope for the future of this country. So much has happened since then, and I’m incredibly proud of how this community has stepped up in the aftermath of the election to resist the current administration. Along with my amazing team of volunteer moderators and admins, I remain firmly committed to our mission of creating social and political change through personal narrative. Your stories matter. They influence. They create a ripple effect.
You have called your elected representatives. You have donated. You have marched. You have supported one another in ways that can’t be quantified but that are at the heart of the progressive movement. You have connected online and off, with resources and with love and with persistence in the face of bigotry and hate.
We believe that Pantsuit Nation has the potential to be on the leading edge of a cultural shift in our current political climate, where instead of pundits and analysts talking over and beyond our everyday, lived experiences, we are talking to and listening to one another. Together, we can understand the systemic racism that poisons our country’s efforts at true social justice — not just through statistics and headlines, but through the voices of those who experience it daily. Together, we can see how changes in health care policy affect our lives, not just in large, abstract numbers like 23 million Americans, but on an individual, human scale. Together, we can join with millions of other people around the country and the world to stand up for each other to have the right to love whom we want, to make choices for our own bodies, to demand accountability from our government, to use the privileges we have to fight on behalf of those who lack them. Pantsuit Nation members are standing up in so many ways — running for office, creating and participating in social and political movements within your communities, calling out oppression and calling in allies to make a difference. And those individual actions, shifts in understanding, and commitments to change are our best shot at influencing the outcome of future elections. We know that stories move people to act. They are the WHY. And we are doing everything we can, from our modest (and, ok, pretty random) beginnings as a Facebook group intended to inspire people to wear pantsuits to the polls to become a sustainable, organized force for good.
I’m thrilled to announce today that Pantsuit Nation has hired our longtime volunteer admins Cortney Tunis and Cat Plein as our Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, respectively. Their positions have been made possible, in part, by a grant by New Media Ventures supporting organizations that are working at the intersection of technology, media, and politics. We’re honored to be included in their portfolio along with 13 other organizations including Sister District, flippable, Swing Left, Indivisible Guide, Mijente, Town Hall Project, and Stay Woke. Cortney and Cat will continue to work with other progressive organizations to bolster calls to action through personal narrative, to develop our archive of public stories shared with permission as a resource for advocates, educators, and activists, and to grow our community beyond a secret Facebook group.
Sometimes 8 months seems like an impossibly long time (just ask my husband, who has taken on the bulk of caring for our two young children and doing everything he can to support our household while I spend nearly every free minute on all things Pantsuit Nation). But in truth, we are at the very beginning of what I know will be a long surge of united effort to bring positive social and political change to our country.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your stories and for listening with intention and heart to the stories shared in this space. Thank you for acting in ways large and small.
For more information about Pantsuit Nation and to support the work we do, please like our Facebook Page, sign up for our newsletter, and consider purchasing a copy of our book, all proceeds of which go to supporting this community.
Photos by Julie Lippert and Christina Gandolfo.