The event was held at Affirmations Ferndale, a non-profit organization serving people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Affirmations is a center for LGBT activities throughout the community and provides a space for people to gather, organize, learn, or just hangout.
When we arrived, we were treated to food, drinks and music. The music was provided by DJ Meph, there was a featured drink, provided by local merchant Valentine Vodka, called the “Pink Pedal” and they had a keg from the W.A.B.. They had a lot of food from local eateries including two of my favorites, Treat Dreams and The Cupcake Station.
Everyone walked around and mingled while a very pretty girl, named Nicole, circled around in a “condom dress" made by local designer Matt Richmond. She also handed out flowers that were made of condoms.
The celebration was moved into another room where we were treated to a performance by local Detroit artist “Invincible”. She started off with some powerful acapella and then got the crowd going with some music, some of the fastest lyrics I have ever heard anyone spit and a charming smile. Her message was about change, moving forward and not giving up. I got a chance to speak with her after her performance and I asked her why being involved with this opening was important to her. She went into detail about the killing of Michael Hayes, who was allegedly shot and murdered by a store clerk in Detroit after getting into an argument over the price of condoms. She stated, “We just need more access”. This opening is a step forward and a move towards better access to family planning and reproductive health.
There were a few speakers, including Planned Parenthood C.E.O. Lori Lamerand and U.S. Representative Sandy Levin. Mrs. Lamerand spoke about how happy she was to finally see that this location is opening. She explained that there has been more resistance to Planned Parenthood in the past two years then she has experienced in the last 27 years she has worked for the organization. She told a story about the first client that came into the new location and the protestors that were outside the facility when they opened. She brought a positive message of a bright future and made a commitment to serving the local LBGT community. Representative Levin shared a story about his personal struggle to get Mammograms covered under Medicare many years ago. He compared the fight for women’s rights today going on in federal government with the fight that he fought for breast cancer awareness and testing. He stated, “women’s health is an issue for women, but it is also an issue for all of us”.
The fact of the matter is that we went to a great party with inspiring people. There was a message of hope for a more tolerant future where women have access to the choices and services they need in order to be healthy. But, this opening is also the beginning of a battle to spread the word about Planned Parenthood and what they do. In fact this location and many others do not provide abortion services. Instead, they offer many other services, including contraceptive planning (birth control/condoms/Plan B), H.I.V. testing, LBGT services, pregnancy tests, STD treatment and vaccines and men's healthcare including cancer screenings and vasectomies. That's right men, Planned Parenthood also offers services for you! You have the right to plan your families and family choices too!
Today was great because we celebrated, but tomorrow when Planned Parenthood opens its doors we need to make sure that those that enter are safe to make the choices that they want, to live happy and healthy lives.
A special thank you to Tunde Olaniran for inviting us to this event. We hope to work with you and Planned Parenthood in the future, but we were honored to be asked to the dance in the first place . xoxoxo
If you would like more information on the new Planned Parenthood stop by their office at 23338 Woodward or visit PlannedParenthoodDetroit.org.~S