While the reasons vary from person to person, one thing is for certain: the 2016 election changed us all.
January 21, 2017 was the first sign of this change. Millions upon millions marched in the cold, carrying signs, chanting, and wearing pink "pussy" hats (knitted hats with cat ears). The masses were determined to send a message to the new administration. This message was clear: "We will not just 'take our place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on'. We will fight." (Thank you, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt)
In March of 2017, a political action group, NARAL Texas, was inspired by a promotional stunt for Hulu's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale and organized the first singular Handmaid’s Tale themed protest.
In April, Emily Morgan, Executive Director of Action Together New Hampshire (ATNH) began planning a Handmaid's Tale themed protest in New England. She contacted NARAL Texas in the early stages of planning, and they shared the pattern used to make the cloaks in their protest. After discussing plans with colleagues and counterparts in Action Together Massachusetts and Action Together Connecticut, Kathleen Spencer and Valerie Horsley, respectively, those involved decided to see if building something bigger than a single protest might be possible. Following overwhelming support, a private Facebook page was created and invitations to members of Action Together, as well as the organizations in Texas, Missouri and Pennsylvania, were sent out.
With the help of dozens of women, Granite State Progress, Ultraviolet, New Hampshire state Representative Debra Altschiller, and what was now known as Handmaid Coalition™, a small but vital demonstration was held on May 17 calling for the resignation of Robert Fisher. Fisher was another New Hampshire state representative, responsible for creating and cultivating a community on Reddit called "The Red Pill". This forum promotes itself as a “discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.” Many redditors identify this community as repulsive, misogynistic, and as promoting anti-woman rhetoric. It has long been labeled, "the heart of modern misogyny". Because of these efforts, Fisher resigned shortly after the demonstration.
After strong response to the initial outreach and first Handmaid Coalition campaign, people from New Hampshire to Oregon are now uniting in this unique way, finding their voices, telling their stories, and fighting to ensure fiction does not become reality.