An open letter concerning women’s rights in the banjo community 5/9/2022

Pisgah banjos stands for women’s rights and their liberty to choose what is best for themselves, their families and their bodies. What does this have to do with banjos? Well, in our opinion everything. Where the US government fails to protect women, minorities, and vulnerable members of our society, it is our responsibility and duty as a private business to step in to make these protections ourselves and make our voices heard.  Pete Seeger once said, “Participation- that’s what’s going to save the human race”.

In a male dominated industry (both builders and players) it’s easy to overlook and dismiss the issues women face and say it’s not our problem or be apathetic to what is happening. With women’s liberties being taken away by mostly men at the highest levels of government, Pisgah Banjos will not stand for this and we will do everything in our power to let our elected leaders know this is wrong. For us, this is not a political issue, instead it’s a stand for basic human rights.  The necessity to speak out on this issue comes with great disappointment in our governmental institutions and we take no pleasure in having to make a public statement on the matter. Whether you agree with abortion or not, we as a community have to stand up for women’s rights and not celebrate it until their protections are guaranteed.

We feel strongly that these basic human rights ARE constitutionally protected and shouldn’t be decided by states that allow religious views to dictate their laws concerning abortion. Women in all states should not bare undue burdens while seeking safe and discreet healthcare while making some of the toughest decisions of their lives. Pisgah banjos pledges to reimburse our employees travel expenses for reproductive medical treatments that include abortion if North Carolina makes abortions illegal. We proudly stand up for all people that work at Pisgah Banjos, and the partners of our employees and ALL of our past present and future employees and customers and their right to make their own decisions concerning their reproductive health.

As a leader in the banjo community, if we don’t support the women in it and their basic human rights, what is the point of building banjos? If we stick our head in the sand and do not speak out on this issue to stay “non-political”, what is that saying to our customers and all the women who support us? We encourage all banjo companies, builders, banjo related social media groups, and players to share this letter and come out in support of all of the women in their lives and in this community and their basic liberty and freedoms to choose what is best for them. We want to make clear where we stand in the industry and let that speak for itself.

We appreciate all of our wonderful customer and fans who have supported us over the years. Thank you for your continued support as we grow as a company and a community to help us defend the rights of women in this industry. When members of our community are under attack, let’s not say “paddle faster”, instead we need to say “play louder” and let everyone know what the banjo can represent.

Patrick David Sawyer
owner, founder, CEO