BREAD AND ROSES

By The Rev. Barbara Mraz

I went into Kowalski’s Market on Thursday and bought some things for a luncheon I was having the next day: chicken, bread, walnuts, half and half, lettuce, and proceeded to have an experience that serves as the basis for the sermon on Sunday. It has to do, in part, with bread and roses. 

The phrase “bread and roses” is commonly associated with a textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts from January to March of 1912, which united dozens of immigrant communities under the leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World (led to a large extent by women). Eventually the workers won pay increases, time-and-a-quarter pay for overtime, and a promise of no-discrimination against strikers.

Supposedly, one of the women strikers carried a sign saying, “We want bread, but we want roses, too!” Subsequently this phrase became a signature song for the labor movement and for many women’s colleges, too: We want to eat but we need beauty, too.

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to watch a wonderful British movie called “Pride,” based on a true story of a group of Gays and Lesbians in 1986 who decided to go to a small town in England and support miners who were on strike. They went there to help because they hated Margaret Thatcher and because they understood what it was to be unfairly treated. 

You can imagine the reception at first. (“Aren’t all lesbians vegetarian?”  someone asks).

Connections will be made on Sunday, I promise, but here is a clip from the film where the miners and their supporters finally come together. “Bread and Roses” from Pride – YouTube.

See you in church.

Barbara

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