Bread for All and Roses Too

“As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men, For they are women’s children, and we mother them again. Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!”

Bread and Roses” is both a political slogan as well as the title of a poem and song. It’s commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, between January and March 1912, now often referred to as the “Bread and Roses strike“.

The conditions that led to the strike were deplorable – I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with this history, and how workers organized with the IWW to win significant gains in wages and working conditions, and then lost them in the coming years. Their losses were a tragedy. That we have to continue to fight tooth and nail for humane working conditions in 2021 is also a tragedy. But still, we fight for bread – and roses, too.

Bread stands for our material needs – compensation, our need for money, shelter, and food in exchange for our labor – and roses stand for humane living and working conditions – joy, rest, delight, comfort, the dignity of our humanity, and the ability to live a full life outside of the workplace.

I knew I wanted to embroider this slogan and freehanded the drawing to look like early American sign script.

Sharon Needles

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