Power of Pink – Building a Movement

Power of Pink – Building a Movement

The Trump administration is conspiring to overturn Roe v. Wade and conservative legislators in Michigan are working to roll back reproductive rights and cut off access to essential health care.

But we are not backing down.

We’re ramping up.

Last month 2,000 activists from across the nation (including more than 300 Michiganders!) joined us at the Power of Pink conference in Detroit to prepare for the fight ahead.

Together, we will stop the Trump administration and their conservative allies in Michigan from stripping us of the rights our foremothers fought to win.

As the former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said at Power of Pink, “We stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us who chose the path of most resistance. It’s our chance to imagine the country we want to live in. And then build it.”

That’s what Power of Pink was about– standing up, resisting and building a country that respects and upholds the dignity of all people.

Planned Parenthood activists attended more than 40 breakout sessions and 14 pre-conference institutes covering topics such as grassroots organizing, youth organizing, Latinx organizing, engaging communities of color, patient advocacy, digital outreach and deep canvassing. The workshops were led by an accomplished and diverse range of presenters, 45% of whom were people of color, 50% were LGBTQ and more than 75% were women.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan’s workshop, “This is How We Do It – Organizing the PPAM Way,” was a success with more than 30 advocates from 8 states attending. Michigan’s organizing model will serve as inspiration for activism across the country.

But the inspiration didn’t stop with workshops! Attendees also heard from notable activists, community leaders, elected officials and celebrities including:

Lori Carpentier, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Christy Bieber, Co-director at The Aadizookaan
Raquel Castañeda-López, Detroit City Council Member
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President and Chief Experience Officer at PPFA
Kim Jorgensen Gane, Member of the Planned Parenthood National Speakers Bureau and PPAM volunteer
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director at Color of Change
Nate Schwantes, Field Director at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
Tiffany Dena Loftin, National Director for Youth and College Division, NAACP
Jennifer Carroll Foy, Virginia House Delegate
Aja Naomi King, Actress on How to Get Away with Murder
Síona Cahill, Irish Family Planning Association Board Member

The speakers shared organizing wisdom, pushed activists to be intersectional in their work, inspired the crowd with stories of trial and triumph and transformed the 2,000 person crowd into a tight-knit community.

One PPAM volunteer was particularly moved by the experience. “I cried at the Power of Pink conference in Detroit! I shed proud tears of joy in witnessing the multitude of people coming together and demonstrating their commitment to continue the fight to give women and families a choice. I shed happy tears of hope when I heard the passion of the speakers at the plenary and the facilitators in the workshops who provided valuable tools to use in our fight. Beyond giving great speeches and teaching valuable lessons, we were asked our opinions and we were listened to. I felt the powerful Power of Pink, in all of its glorious shades,” she said.

Kim Jorgensen Gane speaking at Power of Pink

Kim Jorgensen Gane also felt the power and connection of the conference. “Sharing my story on the Power of Pink stage was a highlight of my life. Having that kind of a platform was powerful, indeed. But even more powerful were all the ‘me too’ moments throughout the weekend. The woman who kept apologizing for stopping me in the hall, who said my story was what she needed to hear, too. I hope my story helps her and so many others grow through that much earlier than I did, so she can be unstoppable, too,” she said.

Never missing an opportunity to mobilize, Planned Parenthood took that energy and turned it into action! Participants were trained in relational organizing techniques and reached out to more than 13,000 friends and family members asking them to submit online comments to HHS opposing Trump’s abortion gag rule– and 3,234 did!

But we didn’t stop there! Activists also made nearly 5,000 calls to PPAF supporters, receiving 242 commitments from folks to tell their Senators to reject Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.

Planned Parenthood volunteer talks with staff about relational organizing.

Michigan attendees took additional action to change the political landscape here in the Mitten. 80 attendees signed up to become new PPAM members and a team of more than 40 canvassers worked in coordination with Gretchen Whitmer’s gubernatorial campaign to get out the vote– collecting 105 pledge to vote cards in just a few hours.

Ally organizations including the Lansing Area Aids Network (LAAN), the Salus Center, the Michigan Association on Adolescent Health (MOASH), Action of Greater Lansing, Mothering Justice, the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network (MUUSJN), Emily’s List, the ACLU of Michigan and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) also had the opportunity to engage with conference attendees and offer other opportunities for activism.

Maria Starr-VanCore, President of Greater Lansing Area LCLAA said, “We talked to many people, answered questions and gave out fliers with a description of DACA and information about immigration. We ran out of literature. That is the very first for us! We had many interested people wanting to know about the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), and we are forever grateful.”

Activists left the conference with an intersectional perspective, cutting-edge organizing tools and a renewed commitment to engaging, organizing and mobilizing their communities for change. They will soon have the opportunity to do just that.

Midterm elections are three months away. Reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, criminal justice reform, health care access, the environment and the very foundation of our democracy are at stake.

It’s time to unite and DO THE WORK to send a pink wave crashing down on the Trump administration and any legislator who would attack our communities and deny our rights.

As Cecile Richards says, “One of us can be dismissed. Two of us can be ignored. But together, we are a movement. And we are UNSTOPPABLE.”

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