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Thousands Leave Women’s Convention Ready for Political Battle

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

Organizers of women’s marches in Washington, DC and across the country after President Trump took office told crowds at a three day event in Detroit this weekend they must turn protests into activism.

And those who attended the Women’s Convention say they are ready to stand up and speak out.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

Actress Rose McGowan opened the convention.

It was her first time speaking at a public forum since becoming a major voice against sexual assault and harassment amid the scandal surrounding film producer Harvey Weinstein.

McGowan told the thousands in attendance they could no longer stay silent about the kind of sexual abuse she says she was a victim of.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

The theme of the convention was “Reclaiming Our Time,” taken from a statement by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) that went viral after she refused to be talked over by the U.S. Treasury Secretary during a hearing.

Waters served as the keynote speaker at the convention.

She called for the crowd to resist efforts to suppress women’s chances at equal treatment, an agenda she says is epitomized by President Trump.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

This convention must be designed as a declaration that women are unified,” Waters says. “The women at this convention and all across the country have had enough. Enough is enough. We’re not gonna take it anymore!”

Waters also tied the issue of sexual assault to comments and actions disparaging women made by Trump.

Waters says, “His own history with sexual assault violations and disrespect of women sends a message to men and young boys that if the President of the United States can get away with it, so can I.”

Waters, a staunch critic of the nation’s 45th president, finished her speech by leading the crowd in chants of “Impeach 45.”

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) also gave an impassioned plea to the convention crowd to not remain silent in the face of abuse or disrespect.

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

Convention organizers say they hope to channel the energy from the Women’s March into concrete political strategies.

Many of those attending the event say they had been considering making a bid for public office since Trump was elected but did not know what precise steps to take.  

Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

The event featured sessions on everything from building political coalitions to tutorials on public speaking.

Officials with Emily’s List noted at the convention that roughly 20,000 women have contacted the group expressing interest in possibly running for office.

Group officials say typically they receive only about 1,000 questions about campaigning at this time of the year.

Image credit: Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo/WDET

About the Author

Quinn Klinefelter

Senior News Editor

I grab news in the morning, check the papers and the wires, call sources and take a big gulp of coffee. That’s how I start the day.

qklinefelter@wdet.org  

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