Graham Kilmer

National Women’s Convention Comes to Milwaukee

Scheduled for October, modeled on historic 1977 National Women's Conference.

By - Jul 1st, 2023 02:05 pm
Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva

Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. Photo by Mariiana Tzotcheva

A national convention created as an outgrowth of the Women’s March will be hosted in Milwaukee this year.

The second annual Women’s Convention is coming to the Baird Center Oct. 20-22. The first women’s convention was held in Houston in 2022. The event saw nearly 2,000 attendees and more than 10,000 participants who followed along virtually, according to the conference.

Speakers and attendees at the 2022 conference included major feminist intellectuals, writers and academics, as well as women’s rights activists and elected officials. The convention “connects you into the network of the movement and equips you with the skills, training, and opportunities you’ll need to become change agents in your own communities,” according to a website for the event.

The event is modeled on the historic 1977 Women’s Conference, according to a local Fox affiliate that covered the event in 2022. That historic conference in the 1970s was also held in Houston.

One Milwaukeean, Angela Quigley, attended the conference last year. She said the conference was an opportunity to connect with women who were “interested or already activated in things like women’s rights and reproductive justice and things like that.” The convention, she said, actually lit a fire in her to become more involved in activism for women’s rights.

“I left feeling more fired up, like there are some things that I can do,” Quigley said.

The convention took place in August, approximately two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal protection for abortions with its ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “There was a lot of emotions,” Quigley said. “There was some heaviness and sadness, but also, resolve.”

When Quigley returned she worked with local women’s rights groups like PerSisters in Wauwatosa and other progressive groups like Indivisible Tosa and Wauwatosa Moms Against Racism, to hold a women’s rights rally at Wauwatosa City Hall. This was, she said, a direct result of attending the conference.

The experience was motivating, she said. And it also gave her new tools to be more politically active. During the COVID-19 pandemic Quigley began writing her local elected officials, she said. And at the conference, she attended a session on communicating with elected officials that she said gave her more tools toward that end. “They work for us,” she said. “And we’re supposed to be reaching out to them on a regular basis, even to tell them things that we like that they’re doing, or things we don’t like that they’re doing or things we want them to do.”

The Milwaukee Conference is being organized by Women’s March, a national advocacy organization formed in the wake of the 2017 Women’s March protests that occurred all over the world. Tickets to the conference range from $125 to $555, but the conference does offer “scholarships” that can be applied for.

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Categories: Politics

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