Ipas, a Chapel Hill-based global nonprofit dedicated to preventing unsafe abortions, held a Retro Rock for Reproductive Rights benefit Saturday as part of a year-long celebration of its 40th anniversary and its success since it was founded.
The annual event, held at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, featured two performers, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band and DJ Piddypat, and also had a ‘70s-themed costume contest.
“It’s an opportunity for us to bring together our community and celebrate and remember the importance of reproductive rights,” said Anu Kumar, executive vice president for Ipas.
Though the organization primarily focuses on providing safe abortion training for health systems outside the U.S., organizers wanted to use this event to unite local groups such as Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, the Carolina Abortion Fund, Lillian’s List of North Carolina and NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, who all sponsored the event.
“We wanted to bring together this community of activists because we wanted to celebrate their activism in our home state, but also recognize some of the work that Ipas has been doing around the world,” Kumar said.
Kumar said money raised during the event will go towards Ipas’ mission. She said Ipas chose acts for the event that organizers felt fit the ‘70s and ‘80s theme. Mary Frances, singer and keyboardist for Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band said the group was excited to perform for a cause it supports.
“Any time you get a large amount of people together for the same common goal, you find out how many people are in support of that goal,” Frances said. “Music can really bond everyone and create a positive environment for change.”
Paige Johnson of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina said she’s hoping the environment for change provided by the benefit will spur people to get involved in the women’s health movement the future.
“Women’s health is really under assault in North Carolina, so we’ve never been in a political environment like this — one that’s this hostile to women’s health,” Johnson said.
“This is the perfect time for us to come together and thank people who have been steadfast in defense of women’s health and to let people know how they can be involved.”
But the benefit also provided a time for celebration and community unification.
“These are really troubling times for those who support women’s health and we deal with a lot of serious issues everyday,” Johnson said. “It’s important to relax, have a good time and build community because we need to be in this for the long run.”
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