by Barbara Sherf
Frustrated and angry over Trump-ism? Take your pen next Wednesday, March 7, 5:15 p.m., to the High Point Café at the Allens Lane Train Station, to meet with a group known as Persistent Postcarders, working with Turn PA Blue. They will hold a Coffee Bar celebration with refreshments to mark the one-year anniversary of local resistance to Trump-ism via handwriting and sending over 2,000 handwritten postcards to city, state and federal elected and appointed officials.
The idea came to Rabbi Dayle Friedman, 61, following the first Women’s March in Washington, D.C., in January, 2017.
“I was eager to find a way to save the many aspects of our social fabric that were imperiled by the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency,” said Friedman, a Mt. Airy resident, graduate of Hebrew Union College and expert/consultant on issues facing the elderly.
“After the announcement of the Muslim ban the next week, I knew I needed to do something, so I announced through e-mail and Facebook that anyone who wanted was invited to come to my house on Friday afternoons from 2 to 3 to write postcards.”
According to Friedman, the name Persistent Postcarders was coined after U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced on the Senate floor in February of 2017, as Sen. Mitch McConnell justified his action by saying, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”
“Thanks for the new battle cry,” one person tweeted. And a slogan was born: Nevertheless, she persisted.
The group of more than 20 women, mostly from Mt. Airy, now rotate the Friday afternoon sessions at different homes. From two to six show up in a typical week and send out an average of 40 postcards. Thus, in the past year about 2,000 postcards were handwritten and mailed.
“We always discuss what issues concern us, and most often some women bring information about issues they have been following. We then each write to local, state and national representatives,” said Friedman, noting that the group is open to having men as well.
“We then divide our writing between exhortation of representatives to do the right thing on these issues and letters of thanks and congratulations to those who have been bold leaders and/or have had success.”
Friedman tapped Mt Airy artist, author and activist Betsy Teutsch, 65, to help organize the group and design two postcards to offer as part of a fundraising effort for the PA Blue campaign. One very patriotic postcard has a blank box on the front on which the writer titles the issue, like gun control.
The other postcard has a “Thank You” box to thank a representative for support of or introduction of legislation or to thank a journalist for researching and writing about a particular issue.
“I think we are a demographic of well-educated women who are old-fashioned communicators at heart, though digitally capable,” Teutsch noted. “Postcards just make a statement in a satisfying way, and being together is soul-nurturing in what seems like our state of permanent crisis.”
On a recent Friday, a half-dozen women gathered at the Mt. Airy home of Jane Century, where tea and chocolate-covered coconut flake treats she made from ingredients at Weavers Way were served.
Mt. Airy resident Ann Mintz, 70, was clearly up in arms about an array of issues and had done her homework. “For me,” she said, “the Friday postcarding has been a lifeline at a really challenging time. I’m from a Holocaust family, named for my father’s sister who was murdered at Auschwitz.
“I always took comfort in the belief that it couldn’t happen here, only to see images of terrified small children separated from their parents, an old woman in a wheelchair detained for hours for no rational reason and a five-year-old boy in handcuffs, and it showed me in no uncertain terms that it could happen here.
“When I am feeling despair, I focus on writing thank you postcards. It reminds me that there are people in government doing the right thing. I’ve written thank you cards to people I often disagree with, which helps me remember that we can disagree with people without demonizing them.”
At the end of the hour, Mintz took a photo of the pile of postcards along with the hands of the signers and the American flag to post to social media.
While the women are writing longhand, they have their phones at the ready to research issues, find additional information or addresses.
“This is an app called ‘Five Calls,’” said Paula Spivack, 61, of Mt. Airy. “If Ann isn’t around, we might turn to this to find out the top five important phone calls to make on any given day. In our case, it’s not phone calls but postcards being sent.”
The March 7 event runs at High Point Café at the Allens Lane Train Station until 6:45 p.m. Candidates and elected officials will be on hand as well as organizers of the group in an effort to share their knowledge and resources.
More information at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to their Facebook page for additional information. Flourtown resident Barbara Sherf can be reached at Barb@CommunicationsPro.com. This is one in a series of stories on area activists.