Posted: Sep 9, 2010 11:27 am
Posting the email I've sent to gain interest in an event I'm planning. Spread the word! If you know local designers PLEASE send them my way. I've gotten a very good response so far, there seems to be a lot of interest here in New Orleans...
I write to you today to bring to your attention an event I am planning called Pro-Choice/Pro-Fashion Pt. III and to give you a little bit of a background on the project.
History of Pro-Choice/Pro-Fashion
About 6 years ago some friends and I in our college town of Columbia, MO became fed up with the passing of new state laws restricting reproductive choice, and decided to get active. Most of us were heavily involved in pro-choice organizations and volunteered at women's centers that were getting hit hard financially by anti-choice legislation. Many clinics in our state were looking at being shut down altogether. After noticing that the anti-choicers who made themselves and their hate present in our town had a noticeably bad sense of fashion, the idea to throw a benefit fashion show called Pro-Choice/Pro-Fashion came into being along with the tagline, "Advocating the Intended Use of Coathangers." Realizing that the same kinds of TRAP bills and other anti-choice legislation that was affecting our state's providers was also hitting providers all over the nation, we decided to donate our funds to the Feminist Majority Foundation's National Access Project- a program dedicated to keeping women's health clinics open nation-wide in the face of anti-choice legislation and budget cuts. We also donated some of our funds to Planned Parenthood's Women In Need Fund. We raised a whole helluva lot of money the 1st year around. A year later, we came at it again, upping the ante a little bit by soliciting donations from record labels, artists, local vendors, a bunch of celebs, etc. for a silent auction and raffle and by adding some bands and booze to the mix. We raised thousands and thousands and thousands more for the same two organizations. It was a hit.
Current Anti-Choice Legislation in Louisiana
Since my fellow Pro-Choice/Pro-Fashion Show organizers and I graduated college and left Columbia, the benefit has ceased to exist. I've been hesitant to plan another show since moving to New Orleans fearing that I didn't really have the connections that I did in Columbia to pull off something like this again. However, my disgust with the recent anti-choice legislation passed in Louisiana (and across the country) has lit a fire under my ass to get to it. For those of you who are unaware, access to a safe and legal abortion in our state has been seriously threatened this year by state legislation. State politicians, powerless when it comes to straight up overturning Roe V Wade, realize that by draining funds from state funded facilities like Planned Parenthood (who receives about 1/3 of its money from government contracts and grants,) or by suing the shit out of clinics under TRAP bills, facilities would be forced to cut back on services or shut down. The most horrifying recent piece of state legislation here in Louisiana was signed into law in June by Bobby Jindal, giving the Department of Health the authority to shut down any abortion clinic -- permanently -- for any violation of the state's regulatory code, making it much easier to close down an abortion facility than it is to close other types of facilities.The law has already had its first success when it closed last week The Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport. The Department claims it had the authority to do so, because it recognized it must stop "unsafe" practices that put "vulnerable women" in danger. Keep in mind that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States- much safer than child birth. Fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication requiring hospitalization. Daily Kos Blogger Kailli Gray summed it up pretty well with these words:
Closing abortion clinics doesn't protect vulnerable women. And under Louisiana's new law, once a clinic is shut down by the health department, its owners and managers are prohibited from ever operating another clinic, ensuring one less provider for the women of Louisiana and making it that much harder for them to obtain an abortion in that state. The State of Louisiana just accomplished what the terrorists who attempted to bomb that same clinic in 2005 failed to do, shutting down the clinic.
I could go on and on about recent legislation affecting reproductive justice, but that's not the intention of this email. If you 'd like to read up a little bit more on the issues, here are some links to articles & blogs examining setbacks in reproductive rights in the 2010 legislative session:
About TRAP bills: [url=http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/trap_laws. html][/url]
So as I've said, my disgust with recent anti-choice legislation passed in Louisiana (and across the country) has lit a fire under my ass to get this benefit rolling again. I've decided that with former organizers spread out now in different cities across the country, it would be really great to take Pro-Choice/Pro-Fashion viral, with former organizers throwing multiple shows in our new cities, all on the same day- January 22, 2011- the anniversary of Roe V. Wade. After talking with people, there seems to be interest in Chicago, Oakland, Indianapolis, DC, Columbia, and of course New Orleans. The idea is to get each of the former organizers to round up crews in their new towns, throw a show from where they're at, but make a big donation together as one at the end in a kind of mobilized effort.
WHICH BRINGS ME TO WHY I WRITE YOU TODAY...
I'm looking for local organizers & designers to help make Pro-Choice/Pro-Fashion III: New Orleans a reality. The first thing we'll need to do is secure a space and bring on board designers that wish to showcase their goods in the show. When I lived in Columbia, I managed a vintage resale shop that featured local designers so I had a lot of access to these people and had a somewhat built in crew. Now that I'm in New Orleans I'm somewhat removed from that community, so if any of you know of designers that might be interested, please please send them my way. In the past, we've managed to secure a venue and throw the benefit at no cost, and I have no doubt that with the right people on board we could make this happen again here in New Orleans. I'm really into the idea of this project growing and changing as new people come on board with new ideas. Again, the date of the event is January 22, 2011.
If you're interested in helping in any capacity, whether it be helping to organize the event, solicit raffle items, or in designing for the show, or if you know someone who would be, shoot me an email or give me a call at 817.343.3996. Feel free to forward this along to as many people as your little heart desires. As I begin to hear back from people interested I'll set a meeting date and we can move forward from there.
Thanks for your time, help and energy!