At first, Guzman-Rhea sewed masks for her family, but as cases started to be identified across the state later in March, she connected online with other Wisconsinites who, like herself, were itching to feel productive. They were motivated to contribute to an urgent need during a period of deep uncertainty and stress that left many Wisconsin residents homebound and feeling helpless.
Guzman-Rhea quickly found herself organizing a regional crew of crafters as part of a massive statewide group that has coordinated the donation of hundreds of thousands of homemade masks to frontline workers since February. She recruited volunteers from local faith congregations and solicited donations from businesses. She also secured the Meenon town hall about 15 minutes south of Danbury to serve as an operations base for distributing masks across a wide swath of northern and western Wisconsin.
“I’m very outspoken when it comes to something I’m passionate about,” Guzman-Rhea said. “So I was stopping in churches, going to bars, stopping at stores, putting up fliers.”
Her zeal was not universally welcomed.
Look. It’s very simple. People with sewing machines are not to be messed with. They spend all day sticking their fingers in metal contraptions connected to the electrical outlets, their fingernails always dangerously close to a giant NEEDLE going stabbity stabbity stabbity. Do you KNOW how much energy it takes to make a dress from a frickin’ PATTERN when Old Navy exists? And you want to turn your Big QAnon Energy on those people? Really?
This is a fight you can’t in. These people have textiles and time on their hands.
While Guzman-Rhea was alone in the building, she said three strangers — two men and a woman — entered through the front door while a fourth individual she did not recognize waited in a car outside.
“They proceeded to threaten my family,” she said of the three individuals who confronted her. “They said they were going to firebomb my house, as well as my vehicle [and] the town hall” if she continued her mask work.
GREAT. That’s just great. You know who history’s greatest monster is right now, of course. It’s a lady making masks for her neighbors. Way to have your eye on the ball there, nuttergoobers.
Crafters and makers are universally organized, energetic, and creative. Is that really who you want to be screwing with right now? You piss off the legions of people who buy yarn in bulk and they will END you.