Beginning with an introduction by our very own Phoebe Hopps, the Women’s Convention began with the people who lived on this land first: Indigenous women. Prayers were offered by Standing Rock Elder, Faith Spotted Eagle, with a song sung memorializing the disappeared Indigenous women of Canada.
Tamika Mallory of the Justice League of New York City and co-founder of the Women’s March, spoke of the Women’s Movement as inclusive of all races and genders. Tarana Burke, founder of the #Me Too Movement stated that she did not begin the movement, but that it was based on the backs of women like Rosa Parks,
Anita Hill and Gloria Steinem. She encouraged us to fight the system that allows sexual abuse to flourish with an invitation to “Join us! Join me!”
Rose McGowan who turned down Harvey Weinstein’s offer of $1 million dollars to keep quiet about his sexual harassment toward her, reminded us that “we are all “Me Too’s. We are all Roses and we wear the thorns of justice. No more will we be hurt. It is time to be brave. We must stand against the head molester. We have got this! I know it! No more! Name it, shame it, call it out!” Hollywood, she said, “is the mirror of what we look like, but it is only one view. It is time to clean house! It is not our shame. It is theirs. Pusey’s fight back! We will not go away!”
Rosa Clementi, a Puerto Rican from New York City, spoke of her experience of going to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island. She claimed that the government is lying about the numbers, promulgated by the Predator-in-Chief, Donald Trump. That 90% of the island still has no electricity or running water. What water they have is polluted waste water. She warned that all we are seeing is what is happening in San Juan. We aren’t seeing what is happening in the interior. There is a need to rebuild the power grid with solar energy. She admonished us to not give our donations to the Red Cross but to give directly to the people on the ground.
Chef Brianna Butler, pleaded with everyone in this movement to “show up!” She admonished that in order to be effective, we must come together. We must not be divided any longer. We cannot be complacent. The Women’s March has become a global movement with women all over the world connected. Although we may be from diverse cultures, we are now all connected in our hearts.
In conclusion, Linda Sarsour, one of the original founders of the Women’s March, a Muslim and women’s rights activist, reminded us that we have a lot at stake. She stated that the Islamic religion teaches that thanking people is thanking God. “We must thank each other.” The Women’s March was wonderful she said, but now we need the movement to help women to get what we need and want. Having brought women together from all over the US, the Women’s Movement can work to protect those among us who are most marginalized. “We are diverse and will not always agree. Unity is not uniformity. Our disagreements are OK. We must look beyond them and roll up our sleeves and get to work! Be reminded that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. We love our country so much we are willing to fight for our dignity and respect.” She stated that she is an unapologetic Muslim who does not respect this President who does not respect us. “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come here to join me, we can work together!”
From this stirring opening, the attendees broke to move to workshop sessions of their choice on a wide range of topics from fundraising, training to run for office, civic engagement, coalition building and so much more, that continued throughout the conference. The Keynote event featured Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Sen. Kirsten Kobochard, and Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Included in the Sen. Maxine Waters Tribute were Rep. Debbie Dingell, and Emily's List President Stephanie Schriock which are not covered here, however here is the link to the Maxine Waters event video: