There was much to celebrate at the Center for Reproductive Rights 2013 Annual Gala. In the previous 30 hours, we secured crucial victories for women in Texas and Oklahoma. And we presented awards to Senator Richard Blumenthal and Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and former prime minister of New Zealand, for their unwavering commitment to protect and advance women’s reproductive rights.
But there was a deeper current running through the night’s festivities, once again at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Each person brings a story or a principle to our shared mission to protect a woman’s right to make the most personal decisions about her health and future. And the willingness to share that personal perspective is critical to establishing access to reproductive health care as a fundamental right for all women everywhere.
Our special guest, Emmy-winning actress Alfre Woodard, couldn’t have said it better when she closed the night’s ceremonies. “The Center needs us to use the power of our voices to spread the word,” said Alfre, “to tell our stories, to do as everyone here tonight has done and inspire the people around us to join the fight. To wake women up to cross all imagined boundaries and realize we’re in this together.”
A stirring, evocative video demonstrated the cutting power of story. Shot on location in El Salvador, the Philippines, North Dakota, and Texas, the film showed how the consequences of restrictions on reproductive rights are truly universal—and why we must fight on all fronts.
All 350 guests had the chance to start speaking out in a special Draw the Line photo booth set up for the night, including legendary rocker Joan Jett. And, of course, many more signed their names to Bill of Reproductive Rights. At night’s end, the Center raised more than $925,000 to help us continue our many battles across the globe to ensure that all women live in health, equality, dignity, and self-determination.
The annual Gala once again proved to be an incredibly inspiring night, with so many people standing up for women and their rights. It was the strongest possible affirmation that in fighting this battle, we are many and we are strong. And that we will never let up, not for one moment, until all women’s fundamental rights are protected.