I believe that an individual can instigate positive change however, when a group of like-minded individuals comes together it is even more powerful. This is certainly my hope for the hanky I’ve just created for the Craftivist Collective / ShareAction campaign I’m involved with.
Did you know that Marks & Spencer is not a Living Wage employer? This surprised me especially as they promote themselves as everything that is good about Britain and have a reputation for being a good employer. I naturally thought they would be one of the 1570 employers in the UK who paid the Living Wage (£7.85 ph UK and £9.15 ph London), employers that include Scottish Government, Santander and Transport for London but they’re not. So when Sarah Corbett of the Craftivist Collective contacted me to find out if I would like to take part in their campaign I gladly accepted.
Along with 24 other people I stitched a unique hanky for one of M&S board members and influential celebrities. I chose board member Laura Wade-Gery not only because of her progressive outlook but because, like me, she likes her classical music. Along with a hand written letter from me it will be hand delivered to her at M&Ss AGM on 7th July. All I ask, as a M&S customer, is for her to do the right thing and implement the Living Wage across M&S. Sarah sums up the campaign beautifully in this blog post.
History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
I chose to quote the opening of Seamus Heaney’s The Cure at Troy as I know she studied history at university, for its importance in recent historical events including Bill Clinton’s speech during the Northern Ireland Peace Process, and more importantly because it is about hope and knowing the right time to be on the positive side of justice. (the character who says these words was injured, spent time in the wilderness but ultimately went on to be the person who freed Troy during the Tojan wars)
I also embellished my hanky with a dandelion puff with our wishes and hopes interspersed with musical notes echoing the poem and our joint interests in music. The colours purple, white and green reflect the suffragette movement and with over 70% of M%S employees being women I hope it is not lost on her.
Naturally other craftivists also wanted to get involved so as part of a more visual campaign they have been tweeting and even stitching outside of M&S stores from Brighton to Irvine engaging with members of the public and raising awareness of the campaign.
I’ll keep you informed of the progress we make however if you want to know more about the organisations involved or the Living Wage her are some links to get you started: