A Year of Pussy Hats and Political Activism for One San Jose Marcher

Patricia Leung and her husband Jonathan Evans of Santa Clara crochet pussy hats at the Women's March in 2017. "I'm actually behind," Leung says. "I have three more people who've asked me for hats. One person in the crowd asked and I ripped it off my head and gave it to him. I can't keep them in stock!"

Patricia Leung and her husband Jonathan Evans of Santa Clara crochet pussy hats at the Women's March in 2017. "I'm actually behind," Leung says. "I have three more people who've asked me for hats. One person in the crowd asked and I ripped it off my head and gave it to him. I can't keep them in stock!" (Photo: Rachael Myrow/KQED)

Today, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to turn out for the second annual Women’s March. It’s a fair bet many of the people on the streets will have been to the first march last year, like Patricia Leung of Santa Clara.

I first met Leung at last year’s march in San Jose. She and her husband Jonathan Evans crocheted pink yarn pussy hats on the scene, and gave them all away. A year later, the pussy hat is still the symbol of resistance to the Trump Administration, and Leung is still crocheting.

She figures she’s made about 200 hats so far. “I can never keep up with the demand. People just keep asking for them. I’ve been producing continuously, and handing them out,” she says, adding that she’s become more politically engaged since last year’s march, and more personally engaged, too.

Patricia Leung multi-tasks on her commute.
Patricia Leung multi-tasks on her commute. (Photo: Courtesy of Tomiko Oskotsky)

“I am actually a first generation immigrant. Like, from Hong Kong. I came here when I was 10. Particularly with the recent comments that the president has been making, it really strikes home, Leung says.

She started making hats with the Pussy Hat Project, and has also participated in the Welcome Blanket project the group launched last summer to celebrate refugees and immigrants in the United States.

Leung chronicles her “craftivism” on Instagram under the handle the nastyhooker. But the Silicon Valley software company product manager says there’s something irreplaceable about an in person, analog march.

The "Welcome Blanket" project has extra resonance for Patricia Leung because she is a first-generation immigrant to the U.S..
The “Welcome Blanket” project has extra resonance for Patricia Leung because she is a first-generation immigrant to the U.S.. (Photo: Courtesy of Patricia Leung)

“One of the things I think technology has done to us is to isolate us into silos, and having the march where it brings people out with the same ideologies to just talk together and be with each other — I think it really helps.”

Look for her today on the streets of San Jose. She’ll be the one crocheting as she marches.

A Year of Pussy Hats and Political Activism for One San Jose Marcher 20 January,2018Rachael Myrow

Author

Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow is KQED’s Silicon Valley Arts Reporter, covering arts, culture and technology in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. She regularly files stories for NPR and the KQED podcast Bay Curious, and guest hosts KQED’s Forum.

Her passion for public radio was born as an undergrad at the University of California at Berkeley, writing movie reviews for KALX-FM. After finishing one degree in English, she got another in journalism, landed a job at Marketplace in Los Angeles, and another at KPCC, before returning to the Bay Area to work at KQED.

She spent more than seven years hosting The California Report, and over the years has won a Peabody and three Edward R. Murrow Awards (one for covering the MTA Strike, her first assignment as a full-time reporter in 2000 as well as numerous other honors including from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association and the LA Press Club.
Follow @rachaelmyrow

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