Women line up to get 'nevertheless, she persisted' tattoo

More than 100 people waited in line at Brass Knuckle Tattoo Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to get a tattoo of the Mitch McConnell quote, "nevertheless, she persisted."

Story highlights

  • More than 150 people stood in line
  • The event raised over $4,000 for a local woman's charity

(CNN)Seconds after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell uttered the phrase, it became a battle cry for Democrats. And judging from the line outside a Minneapolis tattoo parlor earlier this week, "nevertheless, she persisted" is still resonating strongly.

On Tuesday, more than 100 women -- and a few men -- waited in line at Brass Knuckle Tattoo Studio to get a tattoo of the quote.
Writer Nora McInerny accidentally ignited the movement when she created a Facebook event set to public rather than private. She knew a few friends who were interested in the tattoo, and thought it would be fun to get them together. Within a few days, 1,900 people said they were interested.
    Nora McInerny organized the event
    Brass Knuckle was shocked by the turnout.
    "There were already people lining up at 11 even though it started at 3," Shawn Phelps, owner of the studio, told CNN.
    Graphic designer Chelsea Brink designed the phrase in three different variations, and three artists came in on their off day. There were about 150 people in line, but the artists had to stop after tattooing 70.
    "The three of us tattooed people from 3 p.m. until midnight, and then we couldn't do anymore," Phelps said. "We were running out of supplies."
    Hundreds of people have expressed interest in the tattoo since the event. "Yesterday the phone rang so much that it killed the battery," Phelps said, laughing.

    Making a difference locally

    The event raised more than $4,000 for Women Winning, which supports the election of pro-choice women of all political parties to all levels of public office. The tattoos cost $75, but the studio says it only kept $20 to cover the cost of supplies. The rest was donated.
    "It was amazing and gratifying to see so many women gathered to support our mission of electing pro-choice women here in Minnesota," Lauren Beecham, executive director of Women Winning, told CNN. "We knew there were many interested on social media but we were floored by the incredible outpouring of support -- which only mirrors the energy and passion we've seen since the election."
    Graphic designer Chelsea Brink designed the tattoo.
    Brink is willing to share her art with anyone who wants it, under the condition that they make a donation to a woman's rights organization in exchange.
    "The whole point was not just to get a tattoo but to make it an active way to get involved and make a difference in our community," Brink told CNN.
    "It was pretty amazing to watch and be a part of it," Phelps said. "It ended up being such a movement that I've never seen before. It was incredible."

    About that line

    "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
    The line was delivered by McConnell after Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren read a letter written 30 years ago by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions for a federal judgeship.
    Republicans accused Warren of violating Senate rules against impugning another senator, which was upheld by a vote.
    Democrats across the country immediately re-purposed the line as a battle cry in the form of T-shirts, phone cases, and the hashtag #LetLizSpeak. Just weeks after the historic Woman's March took place worldwide, women took to Twitter to share their stories of 'persisting' through sexism.
    As for the comments already piling up regarding the tattoos, McInerny isn't bothered. "This is not a tattoo for myself," she said. "It is for every woman I know or don't know. People have taken this as some sort of personal affront when it isn't. It feels personally important to have these little reminders."