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Pink and Purple Hats

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Last Friday night SIWWM did not go the the club, but rather we went to the club. The club was a comfortable apartment in the Seaview Estates. It was a club of historic Staten Island Women. We met Virginia Allen, Officer and Member of the Harriet Tubman Purple Hats Women Society.

Harriet Tubman was a savior to many slaves. After finding her own freedom in Pennsylvania as an escaped slave, she went back to the south to free more African-Americans from bondage. Tubman was considered a “conductor” on the now historic Underground Railroad during the1850s. Tubman was noble, powerful and brave, which is what the color purple symbolizes to the women of the Purple Hats Society. They wear the purple hats as a symbolic gesture to honor her courageousness. Their mission is to “empower women to live in the spirit of Harriet Tubman, one of the greatest heroines of her era, by participating in cultural, social, economic and political activities that will have a profound impact on the quality of life in their communities.”

To empower women to live in the spirit of Harriet Tubman, one of the greatest heroines of her era.

SIWWM wants to learn from this legacy of brave and courageous women and continue their work in the modern day where basic human decency and values are constantly attacked. How can we help our fellow sisters and ourselves to be liberated, empowered and protected? This a question that challenges women all over the world. Harriet Tubman is a shining and powerful example of the results one passionate and committed woman can achieve.

“I know you want to show respect but please don’t call me Ms. Allen, call me Virginia.”

As we walked in and made formal introductions, Virginia asked us to write our contact information and insisted we stay casual. She is warm, kind, witty and smart. As a member of the historic Purple Hat Society of Staten Island, The New York State of Women, Inc, the NAACP, the Unitarian Church, as well as several unions, Virginia is a woman who knows how to get stuff done! We shared with Virginia our vision for a diverse coalition of north and south shore women and she listened with patience and enthusiasm. In our discussion, we all agreed that while there is much female representation across the Island in the form of various women's groups and causes, we have not quite seen a coalition of women as diverse and inclusive as what SIWWM have envisioned.

As we continue to knit together this diverse tapestry of passionately engaged female leadership, we are seeing our vision realized.

We are seeing that the women in our community are already leaders and models, and have already coalesced to become a force and a power that benefits all of us. They are the women of color on Staten Island.

Virginia talked to us about people on Staten Island who have consistently fought for change and speak for the people who do not have the same power. It did not surprise us that the names she mentioned are women we have either worked with our are eager to meet. We left her wonderful cozy apartment with a sense of urgency and excitement about the work to be done.

Virginia Allen will be a guest speaker at our general meeting on May 7.

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