If Michigan gets this kind of turnout on Election Day, pro-women candidates will win big.
Michigan’s first annual V to Shining V event was a smashing success! Held at the Park Bar on September 27, this official Lady Parts Justice gathering brought in talent from across the country, along with some of Michigan’s strongest advocates for women.
The nearly sold-out gathering drew women and men of all ages who enjoyed a great party — and some great information about voting on November 4th. A nationwide event, V to Shining V will be an annual opportunity to celebrate women and, even more important, mobilize people to get out the vote to elect more pro-women candidates.
Speakers like Lt. Governor candidate Lisa Brown and Rep. Rashida Tlaib gave attendees a first-hand perspective on what happens in Michigan’s House and Senate — how women are silenced and belittled right on the floor of our Legislature. It’s no wonder that anti-women policies have been enacted with gusto since rabid Republicans were swept in on a wave in 2010.
How did Michigan fall into the hands of such extremist leadership? Too many Democrats didn’t vote. Brown and Tlaib spoke forcefully about the importance of getting involved and taking action to get everyone to the polls in November.
Other speakers shared their personal viewpoints, too, like trans activist Mira Krishnan, who brought down the house with her heartfelt speech on inclusion, embracing our womanhood, and an affirmation of what Lady Parts Justice is all about: “Let this be a movement that leaves no woman behind,” Krishnan said. Read more about her speech in her terrific blog post.
I was delighted to talk about how removing anti-women officials from office is good for women’s health — and the importance of getting out the vote and getting to the polls in November. Renee Chelian, owner of Northland Family Planning Centers, provided sobering, essential information about what’s at stake in this election, given the laws being enacted in Michigan that make it increasingly difficult for clinics like NFP to continue providing comprehensive care.
Even the talented performers illustrated the power women have when they stand together, with crowd-pleasing performances that got the audience energized. Amy Gore, Holly Miranda, Ambrosia Parsley, Jaci Caprice and Insite the Riot gave us music with a message, entertaining and educating the audience all at once. The event’s host, comedian Lianna Carrera, brought just the right mix of humor and heart to the stage, from her hilarious stand-up segments to her compassionate remarks on the more serious topics of the day.
There was no shortage of fun. But the crowd gave their full attention to what I thought was the most powerful segment of the event: two personal stories of abortion — one performed legally and one performed illegally back in 1966, before Roe v. Wade. The contrast was striking. Jennifer, who had a legal abortion, reminded us that there’s no shame or stigma in choosing this procedure. And Renee Chelian tearfully shared her heart-wrenching experience of having an illegal abortion as a 15-year-old, — the risk to life and liberty she went through, and what women would be forced to endure again if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned.
I urge you to watch the video of these two women and see for yourself how much women stand to lose.
We can’t let politicians and zealots take away women’s right to choose, to access birth control or any other necessary medical services. That’s why these women stood up and spoke out. That’s why the V to Shining V event included educational materials from Planned Parenthood and Right to Health. That’s why every single state in the United States had at least one V to Shining V party on September 27.
Because women and the men who stand with them know there’s too much at stake for us to sit back and do nothing on Election Day.
This is only the beginning for Lady Parts Justice. Here in Michigan, one of the goals has already been achieved: bringing together women and men who are serious about taking action to drive positive change. Working on this event together created a community that’s ready to do what it takes to vote anti-women politicians out of office.
Stay connected with Lady Parts Justice-Michigan via Facebook (where you can also find more photos of the event) and sign up for emails from the national Lady Parts Justice organization. There’s much more to come.
Your voice has never been more important. Your vote has never been more important. Look closely at the candidates in your area and find out where they stand. And do everything you can to make sure everyone you know — and everyone in Michigan — casts a ballot on November 4th.
The health and lives of women are at stake. You know what to do.
[Photos by Simon. From top to bottom: Lisa Brown, Rashida Tlaib, Lianna Carrera, attendees listening to personal stories of abortion, singer Jaci Caprice.]