This was most evident in February when the two women helped three little words cement themselves into the American subconscious and onto the skin of women (and men) around the nation, including right here in Fargo-Moorhead.
It all started when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the senate. When she wouldn’t stop her speech, which criticized then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, McConnell rebuked her and uttered the now infamous phrase “…nevertheless she persisted.”
McInerny, who is scheduled to speak at the Fargo Library Oct. 10, told the Star Tribune in February “those words remind me of every woman I know who has kept going even though it’s difficult or it might make you unpopular. I just thought it was a perfectly beautiful sentiment.”
McInerny then asked her friend Brink, a freelance graphic designer in Minneapolis, to design a tattoo that she and a few friends could get with donations going to women-centered charities.
Brink obliged, making a design she calls “casual and not too precious.”
According to the Star Tribune, McInerny didn’t realize the Facebook event she created to invite a few friends to the tattoo event was public, not private. And because she’s a popular blogger and author, word spread quickly. Soon more than 2,000 women indicated interest.
The Minneapolis tattoo event generated national interest and even spawned an event in Fargo in April.
“It was kind of overwhelming,” Brink says. “It’s still kind of surreal, especially seeing it happen in Fargo where people are more quiet and reserved.”
Brink says it was fun to see one of her best friends from high school choose “she persisted” as her first tattoo and seeing older women getting them as well.
“My mom is still thinking about it,” Brink says with a chuckle.
This isn’t the first time Brink’s designs have received national attention. In 2014, Buzzfeed placed the 2008 University of Minnesota graduate in the top feeds to follow if you love color while Nylon magazine lauded her as a “daring graphic designer” with a “keen eye for branding.”
Brink cites her mother and her high school speech and theater coach Rebecca Meyer-Larson as mentors and examples of being strong, creative and outspoken women.
However, anytime you wear your opinions on your sleeve — like she has with the “persisted” work — Brink says you’re going to get negative comments online. She just chooses to ignore them and think about what really matters.
“I just remember the art I made has helped raise $10,000 and that’s nothing to sneeze at,” she says. “That’s making a difference.”
Brink’s design is not just on skin. It’s been replicated on a number of items from T-shirts and hats to coffee mugs. She says she’s received letters from as far away as New Zealand thanking her for her design.
Brink says she’s happy to let anyone use the design as long as they donate some money back to charity. Right now she recommends the Malala Fund, She Should Run and the National Women’s Law Center.
“I want to raise awareness for female-focused organizations as nonpartisan as possible. In this political climate I think it’s important to open it up to women of all beliefs,” Brink says. “At a time when people are so discouraged by the tone of our country, all we can do is put money in places we believe in.”