Community Maplewood South Orange

CHS Graduation Robes Play a Role in Protest by ‘Handmaids’

Handmaid’s Tale Protest by SOMA Action, Photo courtesy of Michael Paris

Recycling met up with political activism recently in South Orange and Maplewood.

When South Orange’s Kathleen Kargoll heard that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was coming to New Jersey to stump for a Republican candidate, she was inspired by “Handmaid’s Tale” protests around the country — and she knew just where she could get her hands on some red robes.

Kargoll put out a call on social media for used Columbia High School graduation robes. The robes, paired with white hats, made for a very photogenic protest in Springfield — picked up by NJ.com — on Friday (the fundraiser attended by Pence, however, turned out to be another location — a private home somewhere in Morris County).

The Handmaid’s Tale is an Emmy-winning Hulu series based on the Booker Prize-winning novel by Margaret Atwood. It tells the story of a dystopian America where a patriarchy takes over and controls the reproductive fate of women.

Regarding Pence, Kargoll told NJ.com, “He’s the voice of everything that is the opposite of our values.” Pence is known for his strong anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ stances, supporting legislation to de-fund Planned Parenthood and signing legislation that allowed businesses to deny services to gay customers based on the business owners’ religious beliefs.

Now that SOMA Action, has the robes, the group plans to use them for upcoming protests. “We have a national day of action on [potential U.S. Supreme Cout nominee Brett] Kavanaugh called for August 26th,” wrote one SOMA Action organizer on the FB group, who also noted that midterm elections are coming this November. “What should we do, SOMA? Who wants to call the action?”

Read NJ.com’s coverage of the protest by SOMA Action here.

See NJ.com’s video of the protest here.

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