Happy Birthday Emmeline!
Author: Zoe Stavri
Published on Jul 17, 2012
Sunday marked a very special birthday: Emmeline Pankhurst, who played a pivotal role in securing women the vote. Activist group London For Democracy took the opportunity to celebrate.
We met at Emmeline Pankhurst’s statue in Victoria Tower Gardens, just next to the Houses of Parliament. A group of people from all walks of life began to convene, many wearing the suffragette colours of green, purple and white. A mass of purple flags were unfurled, and silly slapstick ensued as activists attempted to give one to the birthday girl. Coaxing a bronze statue on a high pedestal to hold a flag is exactly as difficult as it sounds.
I gave a short talk to commemorate Emmeline, and then we laid flowers. In Pankhurst’s time, flowers were often used to symbolise secret meanings, so we chose alstromeria to represent Pankhurst’s devotion and carnations to show our admiration--all in purple and white, of course!
After the informal ceremony, we retired to the grass for a picnic, surrounded by purple flags. No birthday party is complete without cake, so one activist brought trays upon trays of cupcakes iced in purple. Many others brought delicious food and drink, and we sat in the sun sharing food and ideas.
It was a fun, relaxed occasion, and a pleasure to get to talk to so many interesting people. London For Democracy are a diverse bunch, but with two things in common. The first is a passion for democracy, and a genuine desire to make things better. The second is that everybody is absolutely lovely!
London For Democracy are meeting again on 15th August for tea and cake. I’m going to be going, and I hope to meet even more delightful people there!