Pantsuit Nation Meetup & Book Release Party
Thursday, May 18 at 7 PM
Hey West Portal,
Show of hands: Who here has heard of Pantsuit Nation?
The only reason I have (a lot) is because my mom says this group “saved her life.” So for the rest of you, I’m going to quote the organization’s founder, Libby Chamberlain, in her introduction to the newly published Pantsuit Nation book:
Pantsuit Nation began on October 20th, the day after the third presidential debate. Craving an online space that was free of vitriol, fake news, and the abusive commentary that had become commonplace over the course of the 2016 election, I uploaded a photo of Hillary Clinton, radiant in her white pantsuit from the night before, and wrote the following description for the group: “Wear a pantsuit on November 8—you know why.”
Libby invited a few friends, who invited more friends. A couple dozen women quickly became thousands. And then millions.
While there were a number of memes and pro-Clinton articles being shared in the beginning, something else started happening as well. Members, particularly women, began sharing stories of what this election meant to them. Stories about workplace harassment, about mothers and grandmothers with great aspirations and far-reaching ambitions who were limited not by their creativity or talent but by their gender. Lawyers and teachers and scientists posted in the group about their fight to wear pants, literally, and about the fight for what the pantsuit represented to them: equality, empowerment, and autonomy.
Whether you supported Secretary Clinton or not, I suspect those words will resonate with many. Therefore, when I had a chance to welcome Pantsuit Nation to BookShop West Portal, I leapt at the opportunity. Our evening will be hosted by Kimma Barry, one of Pantsuit Nation’s Northern California-based admins. We’ll be welcoming some of the local Pantsuit Nation members whose stories are featured in the book, such as Fatima Fall—or page 112, as I like to call her.
The profits from the book, btw, are going to organizations which support women.
Each meetup will raise funds for a local non-profit.
I am thrilled that we are partnering with Planned Parenthood of San Francisco to raise a little cash during our event. They’ll talk a bit about what it is they do for our community - as will our friends from Minds Matter SF.
All of this was shaping up to be a fantastic, uplifting, affirming event.
I was so excited!
And then I got some news…
Out of all the meetings in all the bookstores across the United States, Pantsuit Nation founder Libby Chamberlain was coming to our store!
Did I bury the lead? Pantsuit Nation founder Libby Chamberlain is flying in from Maine to attend our event!!
I read about 60 pages of the book before I sat down to write this letter. I read the stories that women and men had contributed to Pantsuit Nation and to the book and I wept. But they were mostly happy tears. These are voices of inclusion and love—and they are powerful.
You do not need to be a member of Pantsuit Nation. You do not need to be a supporter of Hillary Clinton. You do not need to be a woman.
Please come join us this Thursday, May 18th at 7:00pm to welcome Kimma, Libby, Fatima, and others. For one evening, join this “diverse community of voices allied in resistance, grief, and hope.” Come to BookShop West Portal and find your people.
Oh, and please spread the word!
Bookshop West Portal
80 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127