HOLLOWAY PRISON VIGIL
Saturday 17 July 2021, 4 to 5pm
It’s 5 years since the last prisoner left HMP Holloway. Help remember the thousands of women held over its 160-year history, and call for a positive, living legacy.
What: Personal stories, poems and songs honouring women’s struggles for justice. Art from Make Space for Women competition. Information on the Women’s Building, green space, and housing to be built on the site.
Bring: A single flower or plant to leave as a memorial.
Wear: green, white or violet, the Suffragette’s colours standing for Give Women the Vote. (Purple is fine too!)
Where: Main prison entrance, junction of Parkhurst Road/Camden Road, London N7 0NU. Nearest tube: Caledonian Road
Bread and Roses
As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go 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.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we’re standing proud and tall.
The rising of the women means the rising of us all.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
March 25, 1911: a garment factory fire in New York killed 123 women and girls and 23 men. Mostly recent immigrants, they were trapped because stairwells and exits were locked, a common practice at the time. In a speech soon after, trade unionist Rose Schneiderman said, “What the woman who labours wants is the right to live, not simply exist — the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art… The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” This inspired the lyrics by poet James Oppenheim, which was set to music in 1974 by Mimi Fariña. The song can be heard in the movie Pride (https://tinyurl.com/j9sup7ed).