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Chisholm & Abzug

As conservative members of the Supreme Court get ready to more or less overturn Roe v. Wade , I'm thinking about lawmakers and the law. What is the law? Poet Frank Stanford says the law ain’t nothing but bluebottle flies . I might add: the law ain't nothing but whoever is in the room at the time.  I made these little sewn books in honor of pioneering lawmakers Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm. Their nicknames--"Battling Bella" and "Fighting Shirley"--suggest how hard they worked to get and stay in the rooms where consequential decisions are made.  It's easy to admire women like these, but alongside the admiration I also want to remember that the fighters and the witches and the dissidents grapple with doubt and fear, too.  A few years ago at a celebration of life for the regionally-beloved artist Harriet M. Rosenberg , many people spoke about Harriet's toughness, her bravery and her willingness to make her own path. Then the painter Nancy Brassington