Ohio native Alison Best Danson, a dual Canada-U.S. citizen raising her children in Stittsville, was thrilled to attend the Ottawa Women’s March on Washington this past January, and soon was moved to contribute to the resistance in her own creative way.
“It seemed like every woman I knew in the U.S. was going to one of the various marches across the country, and when I heard we were having one here, I felt like that was something I had to be a part of,” she says.
“It was important to me to stand up and be counted for what I believe in.”
When Danson returned home that night, she checked in with her mom and sister, who had been at the Women’s March on Philadelphia with her nephew. She also looked at pictures from the marches in other cities, impressed by the sheer number of participants.
“That was what really struck me at the time, seeing how many people all over the world were willing to get out there and stand up for the same things that I believe in.
“I felt so empowered that day, like I was part of something really big.”
She particularly enjoyed seeing all the creative signs people had made.
Not long after, Danson came across Etsy sites selling stamped metal jewelry. She was intrigued and thought it would be a great way to preserve some of the messages she’d seen on the women’s march signs, and to support social justice organizations.
This sparked her idea to create Resistance Jewelry.
Danson soon purchased supplies and began practising, brainstorming ideas, and creating samples. “All of the ideas I had sort of coalesced around a few concepts, things that are really important to me in my own life, and those were family, feminism, and equality,” which became the motto of her business.
“I’m making a lot of social justice-themed pieces, lots of feminist slogans, which for me is a way to stand up for what I believe in, but also, since my products are wearables, a way for my customers to display what they believe in.”
In keeping with her motto, Danson features a range of pieces that are family-themed and appeal to all ages, such as jewelry for parents and grandparents to showcase their love, as well as necklace sets for sisters or friends.
Since she also does special orders and custom designs, there are endless possibilities.
Danson says that although it’s a challenge balancing family, her part-time work as a science editor and the business, “at the same time, it’s nice to have something to do that’s creative.”
Though life is busy for this on-the-go mom, she says she is loving her life in Canada, though she didn’t expect to wind up here.
In 2004, Danson travelled from her home state of Ohio in the United States to the United Kingdom to obtain her master’s degree in molecular biology at Cambridge University.
After graduating, Best was living with another American girl in London. They had a spare bedroom, so in hopes of finding a flatmate, they advertised it online.
“This Canadian guy showed up with a giant backpack,” she says.
Originally from the east coast, John Danson had moved to the UK to work and travel after finishing his masters in electrical engineering from Carleton University.
Within a few years, Danson and Best were married.
They decided to raise their family in North America. Danson liked the idea of living in Canada and John had job contacts in Ottawa.
Since moving here in 2010, they had sons David, 5, and Nathaniel, 2, ultimately settling in Stittsville in 2012.
“I love everything about Canada except for the long winters,” says Danson. “For me, it’s a perfect blend of the things I love about the US and the UK.
“I’ve found Canadian people to be really friendly and everyone has this great sense of community and instinct to take care of one another.
“My kids are Canadians, and I’m really happy to raise my family here in that kind of atmosphere.”
This led to Danson wanting to become a Canadian, and she obtained her dual citizenship.
Though now living and raising a family in Canada, the right to vote in the United States is important to her. “I’m still a U.S. citizen, so I voted in the last election by absentee ballot, which I’ve always done since moving abroad.”
She says she was as stunned as anyone by the election upset.
“The results last year were surprising to a lot of us, I think,” she says. “U.S. politics don’t affect me much on a personal level, since I don’t live there anymore. However, all of my family is there, and a lot of close friends, so I do keep an eye on the news and what’s happening back home.
With half of her family African-Americans, friends and family who are Jewish, immigrants, and part of the LGBTQ community, she says her main concern is whether human rights will be upheld.
“My mom is retired – what’s going to happen to her healthcare? Those are the kinds of things I worry about.”
A portion of the proceeds from all Resistance Jewelry sales will be donated to a social justice cause. The UN’s Refugee Agency will be the first to receive a donation. You can find Resistance Jewelry on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ResistanceJewelry) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/resistancejewelry/)