It's been nine months since the Women's March occurred the day after President Trump's inauguration. Hundreds of thousands of people descended upon Washington D.C. and cities round the world in what turned out to be the largest single demonstration in U.S. history. The March was organized to protest the agenda of newly installed President Donald Trump (who amongst other things once boasted about committing sexual assault) and to show support for women's rights, fair immigration policy, reproductive rights, religious tolerance, economic justice and LGBTQ equality in addition to just being a good way for a lot of people to collectively process a largely unexpected turn of events.
The March inspired many first-time activists to get more involved in civic life and political action. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been downright hostile towards many of the core issues that the March stood for, and, as of late, is actively targeting access to birth control, protections against sexual assault, and transgender rights. But to just blame Trump is short-sighted. Lawmakers have also recently taken aim at abortion rights, health care, and largely seem to be in lock step with the Trump administration's aggressive agenda on the economy, consumer protections, and the environment.
And the pain and frustration is not limited to what's happening in DC. Substantial allegations of sexual assault are finally rising to the surface demonstrating a culture of aggressive and unacceptable activity from powerful male figures in entertainment, news and industry. What's clear is that in 2017 the country is falling short of realizing it's true potential as the land of the free and a place of real opportunity for all.
So, naturally, many people in disagreement with the direction the country appears to be going are now asking themselves, "What do I do?"
This weekend's Inaugural Women's Convention 2017 aims to answer that question by empowering thousands of people— as organizers note on their site— to take the women's movement forward through community organizing, guidance on running for elected office, and how to execute effective outreach.
The Convention takes place this weekend October 27-29 in Detroit and has attracted all kinds of names ranging from actress Rose McGowan, to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to CNN pundit and former Bernie Sanders presidential campaign press secretary Symone Sanders.
Check out more videos from VICE:
The convention is sold out, but if you want to participate and watch the keynote speakers then tune into VICE Impact's Facebook page which will feature a live stream throughout the conference.
What you can do:
Because the country seems hellbent on going back in time, one issue that will surely be front and center in Detroit is access to birth control. Recently, President Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary rolled back an Obama-era policy that mandated employers cover birth control costs for free—regardless of the moral or religious affiliation of the company. Planned Parenthood estimates that nearly 62 million women are at risk for losing birth control coverage. For many this is an absurd fight to be having in 2017 as the issue of birth control has long been seen as non controversial. In a commissioned survey conducted by Hart Research Associates, the data showed that 71 percent of all voters—including men— felt that women should have access to birth control without any out of pocket costs.
To combat the very immediate and direct attacks on a fundamental aspect of modern health care, Planned Parenthood just launched the #Fight4BirthControl campaign to "engage employers and everyday people ahead of the January 2018 deadline when many companies could drop birth control coverage." During a limited but crucial window, employers, lawmakers and the Trump administration need to hear what you think birth control coverage should look like in the United States.
Companies like Kodak have already made it clear that they will continue to cover birth control without exception and the time is now to get other large employers on board and to send a very clear signal to lawmakers up and down the chain.
And then some:
At VICE, Broadly and Tonic have launched a sex education campaign called "Unscrewing Ourselves" that teaches you everything that you should have learned in school but probably didn't. For your sake and that of any past, current or future sexual partners, check it out!