Harmony Walbridge Grabs Back Daily
I have been living in a pit of anxiety since the inauguration. Every. Single. Day. There is a new wave of terror that runs through me as I realize what has happened the day before while reading my morning news. And living in a small-ish city in the MidWest where not a lot of activism happens, I've felt helpless and like I'm not doing enough to stop it. That's where the Daily Grab Back comes in. An organization in its infancy, The Daily Grab Back (DGB) is an empowering platform run by a group of friends across the country. Every day DGB has a new way to fight back against the White patriarchy in just 5 minutes. Their website also hosts an inspiring blog that provides information on past and present movements and where "Grabbers" can share their experiences. I reached out upon discovering this wonderful group of people, and interviewed Harmony Walbridge, co-founder of the Daily Grab Back, and wife and mother of three. Read on for how this group of women-identifying people are changing activism 5 minutes at a time.
Sarah Sickles for Pink Things: Tell me about yourself! Who are you? Who are the leaders of The Daily Grab Back?
Harmony Walbridge - Co-Founder of The Daily Grab Back: I live outside of Boston with my wife and three children: 8, 5, and 1. We have dogs and cats and chickens and guinea pigs and it’s total chaos here. Cheerio dust gets stuck in the keys of my laptop and, at any given time, maybe half of our family is wearing pants. I don’t know how I get any work done!
My co-founders are only the most amazing women I’d want on my apocalypse team. They work in academia, justice, science, and in their homes. They’re bosses, artists, moms, and all-around kick-ass people.
PT: Why start The Daily Grab Back? What led to it and inspired the project? Tell us the short history of the project!
HW: Well, we were pretty much just a group of longtime friends horrified and shocked post-election. We didn’t always know we’d rise to action or anything, it just happened. That week was just chaos. Chaos and crying and a collective “what now?” We conceived the idea and went live within 72 hours. It’s kind of a blur, to be honest.
PT: What are your ultimate goals for The Daily Grab Back?
HW: DGB wants to continue our work past however long this administration lasts. Which hopefully isn’t long. We do a lot of community-based actions, like donating a book featuring characters of color to your local preschool and supporting your local homeless shelter. These are the things we think will bring people together; make us stronger and better locally. We hope to ignite change at the most basic level of sharing humanity.
PT: Can you tell me a little bit about your blog? I really love the segment about the 27 individuals who have made a change. And there are some other personal stories and additional activism suggestions. I’m really into it!
HW: Thank you! Our blog is really in it’s infancy at this point. We hope that our audience will help us to create an evolving collection they find inspiring. We welcome guest bloggers to submit content to us via email. We want to hear from people about feminism, finding strength and inspiration in this political climate, and anything else that matters to them. The We March for Her segment you’re talking about was something our staff came up with late one night and we just kind of pushed that content out on the fly. We’re good at biting off more than we can chew and then pulling all-nighters to complete it.
PT: Why are you personally involved with The Daily Grab Back? What was the last straw for you? What inspired you to become an activist?
HW: I am a third generation feminist and activist. My grandmother worked for a civil rights lawyer in Florida in the sixties and was a big Vietnam War protester. I grew up in San Francisco in the eighties, where my mom once almost missed picking me up at preschool because she was at a Rodney King protest and my aunt was arrested at a rally against nuclear proliferation. Not being an activist has never been an option for me. As a mother to three adopted special needs children of various races, I’m inspired to speak up even when the fight has me tired. I want my kids to see me as someone who will always fight to protect them from injustice.
PT: What are your thoughts on the Women’s March?
HW: I was lucky enough to be able to attend in Boston with our DGB Design Manager, Mandy. We gave out DGB pins and even saw some people carrying our signs. It always feels good to march. It was a nice stop on this marathon of resistance.
PT: What has been the most popular form of activism so far?
HW: We did this one Grab back in mid-January telling people to go buy a Plan B, even if they wouldn’t personally need it. Access to birth control is something we may be losing under this regime, and we liked the idea of keeping this on hand for anyone who needs it. Despite it having a cost much higher than anything we are usually comfortable asking people to give, it was super popular. When mine arrived from Amazon, my wife was extremely confused! It’s now in our disaster kit.
PT: If you got to say something directly to those who are unsure about joining a movement, what would you say?
HW: Do I have to be nice? I’m only partially kidding. I mean, there isn’t room for complacency right now.
PT: What has been the most challenging thing about the project? The most rewarding?
HW: I think the challenge for everyone these days is just remaining angry. It’s very easy to slip into horror fatigue. Who wants to have to summon a fresh wave of disgust every morning, you know? I try to just get up, feed my kids, and then get to work. Working for DGB is therapeutic for me. I have to read the news because we address current events in our actions, but I try to tackle things one action at a time. Depression tries to pull me under a lot. That’s when I have to lean on DGB staff not as co-workers, but as my best friends.
PT: Do you have any advice for young people attempting to join the movement and become activists?
HW: You are never too young to work. I can’t think of an action we’ve put out with an age requirement. My oldest is eight and I expect her to participate. She mostly hoards Hillary signs in her room and attends rallies and protests with me at this point, but she’s certainly not exempt. Activism is a social responsibility in our house.
PT: Something we ask everyone we interview is: do you have any thoughts on the color pink? What about how it relates to the current political climate and The Daily Grab Back?
HW: It’s funny, we never really consciously chose pink as a group. The use was sort of a given. We did spend a good amount of time arguing about the perfect pink for our logo, though. It’s amazing how fired up we all got about it, actually. Pink is a color that says, “I’m not even a tiny bit sorry that I’m a woman/identify as such.” I know I feel ownership of that sentiment.
PT: What’s next for The Daily Grab Back?
HW: We are currently in app development, which is really exciting for us. We’ve covered some great apps in our Grabs and we are thrilled to introduce our own, making it even easier to grab back.
PT: Is there anything you would like to add that we didn’t touch on in the interview?
HW: Just thank you for the opportunity to get our actions to your audience. We so appreciate every person we reach who takes on some of this work.
This interview was conducted via email and has been condensed and edited.