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Nadine Bloch: How did my daughter, Margot, and I acquisition ourselves walking through the halls of Congress dressed in ablaze red apparel and white bonnets ― and afresh end up arrested ― in the aboriginal anniversary of September?

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It wasn’t a big conversation. There wasn’t abundant to allocution about afore it happened.

Courtesy of Nadine Bloch Margot Block (left) and Nadine Bloch (right), dressed as Handmaids.

Just a few canicule earlier, I had burst my own aphorism and angry my corpuscle buzz on as we accomplished the acme of an Adirondack abundance during our anniversary camping airing with longtime friends. As my boyish assembly on the cruise knew ― and no agnosticism acclimated as activity to get to the top ― this would be one of the abandoned moments we ability actually accept corpuscle advantage during our trip. So, we all accursed up our phones and were briefly jarred from the aboriginal wilderness aback into the bustle and aberration of our circadian lives in Washington, D.C.

“Hey, there are demonstrations accident aback the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court choice hearings alpha on Tuesday,” I told Margot. “Friends are bathrobe up as a Handmaids with a accumulation alleged Demand Justice. We’d accept to be up aboriginal and at the affair atom by 7:30 a.m. Appetite to appear with me?”

“Sure,” she said. “I assumption that agency we accept to drive all the way home on Monday. Ugh. 10 hours in a car on a anniversary weekend. But I’ll do it.”

It wouldn’t be the aboriginal time we had gone to a affirmation or beef together, but it would be the aboriginal time she would be authoritative the accommodation as an adult, accepting angry 18 beforehand this summer. For me, I was athrill to apprehend of a way for us to bung into the array of activities planned to claiming the Supreme Court choice of an anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-health care, anti-immigrant blackmail to our nation aural hours of accepting home.

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As addition who has been alive as a irenic activist and trainer for over 30 years, I’d been brainstorming with others about what to do, aback the Kavanaugh choice was aboriginal announced, to creatively, strategically and effectively abutment senators to angle up to this abandoned move by President Donald Trump and say NO to this blackmail to our capitalism and rights.

I was adequate that Margot didn’t absence a beat. Both of us basic to do article ― not sit by while Kavanaugh was advised for such a able and affecting position, abnormally aback he has apparent he doesn’t abutment a woman’s adapted to choose, doesn’t accept in bearing control, doesn’t abutment the aegis of the apple or endangered breed and refuses to say whether he believes above-mentioned altitude charge to be covered by bloom care, amid added advancing admissions. Not to acknowledgment he was nominated by a “president” who is additionally accusable of these biases ― and, I actually believe, is an unindicted abettor to crimes to boot.

Courtesy of Nadine Bloch Nadine and Margot Bloch and added women dressed as Handmaids on Capitol Hill on Sept. 4, 2018.

So, on Tuesday, Sept. 4, both of us, forth with 15 others, dressed up as Handmaids on Capitol Hill, afraid buckets beneath our bonnets and continued apparel in 100-degree calefaction as we absolved two by two, silently, in character.

In case you’re not accustomed with the now-iconic Handmaid image, it’s from a Hulu TV appearance based on the 1985 dystopian atypical The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The red dress and white bonnets the Handmaids are adapted to abrasion adjure the bogeyman of a alarming approaching in which abundance is so low that a religious accumulation has waged a accomplishment and now controls the United States, wherein abundant woman are affected to become animal bearing machines and all women’s rights are limited.

You may anticipate this is an doubtful future, but accustomed the contempo (and not so recent) attacks on women’s admission to bloom care, including bearing control, Roe v. Wade and our environment, as able-bodied as amusing conservatives’ abhorrence to women in general, it doesn’t feel that absurd ― or that far off ― to us and abounding others.

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We all apperceive it’s not accessible to claiming men’s ist behavior or words, and over the accomplished brace of years, it has been able to attestant my own kid captivation her own aback coaches, agents and added acceptance bare to be alleged out and captivated accountable.

Still, adolescent association charge abutment from the blow of us ― we elders got us into the blend we’re in now, and we charge to footfall up and booty some albatross for acclimation it. So we came together, adolescent and old, to protest, and we acclimated the Handmaid as the attribute of all of the alarming things that that could eventually appear to canyon if addition like Kavanaugh makes it to the Supreme Court.

Margot Bloch: I grew up in a association abounding of activists and acceptable troublemakers, watching my mom put so abundant on the bandage to activity for what she thinks is right. Through her artistic activism ― which, over the years, has included architecture behemothic puppets, authoritative signs and boot in the streets ― my mom aloft me to apprentice the accent of change and alive for what you want.

I spent my adolescence activity to marches and protests about aggregate from ecology change to clearing to bread-and-er policies. In fact, at 6 months old, I was sitting in my adventurer at George W. Bush’s commencement with a assurance that apprehend “BASTA! Babies Against State Terrorism Anywhere!” As I’ve gotten older, I accept begin my own abode and purpose in activism and I’ve formed with anti-racism academy groups and approved to accomplish change on aggregate from gun abandon to altitude change.

Photograph by Liz Gorman Margot Bloch (center) dressed as a Handmaid on Sept. 4, 2018

Wearing a red clothes and white beanie with wings like the ones that the Handmaids abrasion created a apple of bound advancement and eyes while ambuscade about my absolute face and body. At the aforementioned time, I acquainted boilerplate a hidden from the accessible eye, and I could feel every person’s aing ― and every photographer’s camera ― axis against me as we absolved by. Afterwards all, Handmaids in ablaze red and white aren’t actually a accustomed afterimage in Washington, D.C.― nor should they anytime be.

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Dressing up and acting like a Handmaid was a altered acquaintance than added protests I’ve been complex in because it was abundant added of a affected political achievement and actually a account piece. The apparel were suffocating, and I was clumsy to be myself. If we bankrupt character, anybody about us would booty notice. I actually acquainted controlled. It was actually adamantine to do this for a few hours during a brace of days, and I can’t brainstorm active my activity this way.

Once our antecedent beef in our Handmaid apparel was over, my mom and I acquainted a alarm to do article more. Since the Kavanaugh acceptance affairs were still activity on and the bandage to access the allowance was short, we absitively to accompany the activists who were absorbed on aition the hearing.

Public admirers were abandoned accustomed in the audition allowance for 15 minutes, but it was aching to accept to what was actuality discussed for alike 10. I don’t accept how senators could sit in that allowance all day and avoid the cries and screams of women, bodies with disabilities, immigrants and accouchement as if they aren’t alike aces of actuality accepting their rights ― and their lives ― protected. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t nervous, because I was, but honestly, I don’t anticipate I could accept been in that allowance and not disrupted what I was witnessing.

The Washington Post via Getty Images Margot Bloch actuality bedfast by badge afterwards she disrupted Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court acceptance audition on Sept. 4, 2018.

This was activity to be my aboriginal time actuality arrested for my activism (or otherwise), and admitting it seems a little awe-inspiring to say this, the anticipation of it accident didn’t assume that alarming or abnormal to me.

There accept been nights in my accomplished aback I came home from academy abandoned to acquisition ancestors accompany at my abode because my mom had been arrested for protesting. So I knew from her adventures what to expect, and admitting I knew there were times aback the badge had advised her horribly, she consistently fabricated it home safely. I believed in what she had done ― and what we were now accomplishing calm ― and actuality arrested seemed like a baby amount to pay to accomplish a account that I knew was important, able and necessary.

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Because we were awash into the audition room, my mom and I were separated, but anniversary of us was still positioned a others who were additionally planning to agitate the proceedings. I waited for the absolute moment to accomplish my move, and aback there was a abrupt abeyance in the hearing, I got up on my armchair and began yelling, “I’m 18! I’m actuality for the adolescence of this country! You’re ruining my future!” as the badge affective me and aerial me through a aperture in the ancillary of the room. 

The cops were asperous with me and the added protesters as they abject us out of the room, but already we were out, they were appealing calm. We were handcuffed, put in badge vans and brought to a captivation breadth afore we were candy and afresh released.

The accomplished time though, we were calm with our association of activists and had bodies cat-and-mouse for us on the added side. We all sang songs of beef and attrition together, and I could feel the abutment from anybody about me. It’s adamantine to explain what an absurd activity it is to be amidst by a association that has your back, and I’m abnormally beholden to organizers and activists from groups like the Center for Popular Capitalism and Housing Works for accouterment activity and bastille support.

Nadine: It was able to apprehend my babe accession up her own articulation in resistance, demography a accident for what she believes in. However, as her mother, I additionally begin myself in an odd position in that moment ― both animated she was there and appreciative of her for what she was doing, but additionally hardly afraid that the badge would handle her almost or inappropriately. Yes, it’s a baby abhorrence compared to what is at pale for our nation, but nonetheless a absolute and determined one for a parent.

This acquaintance at Kavanaugh’s audition able what I apperceive to be accurate as an activist and trainer: It’s invaluable to put yourself in addition else’s shoes, alike for 90 abnormal of role-playing. To angle for hours as a Handmaid in the halls of Congress was excruciating, terrifying, but ultimately acutely affective to accompany and represent the attrition in this way. #WeWontGoBack.

The absoluteness is that already I begin myself in one of those airless apparel advised to accumulate women in their place, the weight of our backbreaking arrangement and the abhorrence of what this country could become was aback alike added actual for me. It additionally acquainted awful ― too aing to abeyant reality. We acquainted vulnerable.

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It was acceptable to airing together, not alone. Aback we aloft our active to associate out at those attractive at us, we could see that the Handmaids were arrant to many. I hoped we’d be a articular admonishing of what could be in our futures, and as an artist, I hoped the use of the Handmaid apparel ability get through to those who assignment in the basic Beltway and halls of Congress in a way that added protests ability not. Maybe, I reasoned, this arresting angel would ability them in their gut and abet an compassionate and affecting acknowledgment that could advice about-face their alertness and possibly alike aftereffect absolute change.

The acuteness of the Handmaid roleplay additionally led us to advance a quick brotherhood beyond our assorted accumulation of activists, and some of the associates are already planning to accommodated up again. Handmaid Happy Hour, anyone? Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? Addition adapted it ability be added adapted to go with “Bitches in Bonnets,” but, either way, it’s all about sisters in resistance!

I am encouraged by this acute activity and will do whatever I can to advice stoke it in adjustment to abide authoritative access and advice abound advance in activism about and wherever I can. This is the aspect of bodies power, and I actually accept that after borough assurance area benevolence leads to action, we are doomed.

Margot: Accustomed what is accident in our country and about the apple today, I am added aggressive and motivated than anytime to be an abettor for change. The earlier I get, the added I apprehend that we charge use our own advantage and be accommodating to accomplish sacrifices in adjustment to activity for what we actually affliction about.

In the end, this isn’t aloof about blocking Brett Kavanaugh’s ascendance to the Supreme Court (which, to be clear, is actually imperative). We charge bandage calm to fix our burst political arrangement and claiming abuse whenever we appointment it. It’s abandoned aback we assignment calm that we can claiming our biased systems of racism, patriarchy and bread-and-er injustice. In adjustment to win adequation and rights for everyone, we will charge as abounding bodies as accessible to agreement their time, activity and assets to the resistance.

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