We can all attest that some of the best AND worst ideas occur when hanging with our best friends. Kara and Roxanne met in college and have remained bosom buddies ever since. They decided to throw an event to raise money for Planned Parenthood after a typical night together with wine discussing the current state of the world.
During a time of unprecedented challenges for Planned Parenthood, women’s health, and reproductive rights, all funds raised from the event will help PPNYC to continue its vital mission of providing reproductive health care, comprehensive sex education, and advocacy to the tens of thousands of women, men, and teens who turn to our health centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island each year.
How did you guys decide to support Planned Parenthood?
When we decided we wanted to throw a benefit, we actually mulled over supporting a lot of different organizations and causes – while we are all from Indiana, we come from diverse backgrounds and partial to various issues. What we finally arrived at was the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, namely because we had personal experience with their clinics, both as patients and supporters. When you can testify to a group’s services – maybe even feel in debt to them because of the quality experience you received when you needed it most – it provides that extra motivation.
For the past 100 years, Planned Parenthood’s work has enabled progress: women completing their education, parents deciding when to start a family, teens healthier with each new generation. We must maintain New York as a bastion of rights and access for all the women here and from around the country who will be calling on our services. Even in this dark hour, nothing can shake the power of our mission and what we can accomplish when we face it together.
How do proceeds help Planned Parenthood?
So in case you ever want to throw your own benefit for the PPFA – they make it really easy for you to start a fundraiser, in which you can specify which parts of the organization you want to support. Since the fundraiser was already our way of advocating and spreading awareness, we decided to send the proceeds to the local clinics in NYC. With funding in jeopardy, it’s the patients who are most at risk, so ensuring that clinics are able to operate on the day to day is priority.
What would you tell yourself when you were younger, or what is advice you would give other women?
When I was younger, the only advice I really gave myself was “listen to your mother” – this wasn’t just because she made the rules or held me accountable, but really, because I trusted her. She along with a many of her peers are advocates for women’s rights, and were part of the fight when frankly, we had less. So the advice I would give to women today – albeit obvious - is that when you feel lonely, scared, or defeated as a result of the way people treat you because of your sex or gender identity, try and find inspiration in the women who carried the flag before us. Because there are so many who felt the same, but used their talents to push forward regardless – their methods can be repeated and revised for success. They primed us to keep it going.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The two of us are incredibly social people – I mean, our way of giving back was to throw a party with booze, and it doesn’t get that much more social than that– so it goes without saying that we get much of our inspiration from people. And I’m not just referring to those people that love and support us, as inspiring as they are – I’m including those we don’t agree with or even dislike. All people can motivate us in their own special ways, whether they are lifting us up or lighting the fire.
Why did you throw the event at Eva Jean's in Brooklyn?
We incepted the idea to do a fundraiser on a Friday night, at a busy restaurant, accompanied by a bottle(s) of wine. Our friend knew Sam Ware, the manager of Eva Jean’s, and enthusiastically texted him to see if he could help with a venue. Almost immediately and enthusiastically texted an affirmative, on his own shift’s peak hours, so we knew he was serious. Then we saw the venue, met Sam and Elie Anderson, a graphic designer who provided all the beautiful designs for marketing, were wowed by everything, and set the date. The restaurant is centrally located in Brooklyn too, which we thought would be good for commuters.