It all began with a sign. A sign North Forker Sara Berliner made for the early 2018 “March for our Lives” in Manhattan, a nationwide day of action demanding stricter gun control legislation.
“I was brainstorming on what to write on the signs we would hold at the march. I thought of different things, and thought, ‘Well, that’s already been done,’” said Berliner. “I had my kids and husband with me, and ‘vote like a mother’ popped into my head. I decided to just go with it.”
That sign has since evolved into Vote Like a Mother, a social enterprise devoted to rallying people for change, empowering them to vote, and uplifting mothers.
“I started Vote Like a Mother to rally moms for change. When I think about voting like a mother, I think about improving our world locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. When you bring the concepts of care and respect into the voting booth, when your purpose is to build rather than to tear down, you’re voting like a mother,” said Berliner.
The responses to the signs were encouraging, she said.
“People were loving them. They were taking photos of us on the subway and coming out of cafes to ask about it. It’s multi-generational and diverse. It’s gotten a response from all walks of life,” she said.
Just a few months later the message has become a common sight on the Twin Forks thanks to Vote Like a Mother gear, which includes shirts, tote bags, and coffee mugs.
“Everything is ethically sourced and produced. It’s really important to do business the right way,” Berliner said.
But for Berliner, VLAM is more than an inspiring message. Selling the gear provides her the opportunity to help other organizations. The profits are donated to mom-run, impactful non-profits like MomsRising.org, a grassroots organization of over a million people working for economic security for all mothers, women, and families in the United States.
In June, Berliner and North Fork-based friend and artist Agathe Snow attended “Women Artists: Reshaping the Conversation,” a three-part panel discussion presented by Toni Ross at East Hampton’s Nick & Toni’s restaurant. At the event, Ross decided to gift VLAM shirts to women on future panels.
“I first saw these t-shirts when artist Agathe Snow wore it to this summer’s first talk in East Hampton about women artists. It seemed so appropriate and I connected immediately,” said Ross. “The proceeds go to women-run foundations. What could be more fitting to give our participants?”
Since then, Berliner and VLAM gear have been spotted at local rallies and fundraisers, including early July’s “Families Belong Together” day of action in Greenport, and a fundraiser for Liuba Shirley’s campaign for Congress.
In addition to www.votelikeamother.org, VLAM gear is available at the North Fork Roasting Company in Southold.
For Berliner, letting her voice and votes be heard — and inspiring others to do the same — isn’t a new venture.
“I come from a long line of rabble-rousers, to whom I’m indebted and grateful. I’ve attended marches and rallies since I was a kid, and I bring my kids with me now,” she said.
Berliner says she aims to inspire all people to amplify their voices and efforts, and to provide moms with opportunities to contribute. She emphasizes that everyone has something to give, whether it’s time, money, or a platform.
“The people doing the hard work of ongoing activism are an inspiration to me. Showing up and voting with my conscience has never felt more dire. The consequences are real,” Berliner said. “I hope to inspire mothers, and everyone else, to get involved in conquering the darkness and sparking positive change.”
For more on Vote Like a Mother, visit www.votelikeamother.org or on Instagram @votelikeamother.