The first Bread & Roses I had heard of is a small but really cool creative community coop operating in the centre of Bradford, West Yorkshire. They had a riso print machine, and a nice coffee shop (which is worth a visit if you ever come round here)
But what I didn’t know is that it takes its name from a speech (written by Helen Todd) and a song that became the anthem for the strike that the workers of Lawrence, Massachusetts organised in 1912, in which (mostly) women were fighting for improved conditions like the 8 hour work day – they rallied chanting ‘We want Bread, but we want Roses too’
Bread and roses’ comes from a speech made by Helen Todd, a factory inspector and campaigner for women’s suffrage, in a line demanding: “bread for all, and roses too”http://the-history-girls.blogspot.com/2019/06/bread-and-roses-celia-rees.html?m=1
That speech was turned into a poem in 1911 by James Oppenheim, and also into a song – you can read the beautiful lyrics in this blog Bread and Roses – Celia Rees
“…woman is the mothering element in the world and her vote will go toward helping forward the time when life’s Bread, which is home, shelter and security, and the Roses of life, music, education, nature and books, shall be the heritage of every child that is born in the country, in the government of which she has a voice,”Helen Todd, 1910
Their demands are (unsurprisingly?) still relevant in 2020, more than a century afterwards. As they did in the past, we must keep on fighting for our rights and for the wellbeing of the ones yet to come.
I’m curious about in which ways are you doing stuff to try make the workplace and life in general more bearable. I’m sure that even at hard times we can find a way to change the world, one rose / word / vote at a time.
These days even a small gesture from the sofa can help – I’d suggest heading to their site and joining the crowdfunding campaign to keep the place up and running! Rewards you can choose from include this two colour risograph print in A3, amongst other designs. Worth checking out: https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/breadandrosesbd