Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida welcomed more than 180 supporters at its “In This Together” Orlando benefit dinner in late April at The Alfond Inn featuring civil rights activist and “Me Too” founder Tarana Burke as guest speaker (more photos from event below).
“We need to engage survivors from a place of power, not pity,” Burke said. She told the audience that community issues deserve a community response.
“We are a global community, and we are powerful,” she said. “‘Me Too’ needs to become ‘We Too.’”
Burke said the evening was her first Planned Parenthood speaking engagement, but that she considered Planned Parenthood “a lifeline” since the beginning of her career in the 1990s working with marginalized youth. She spoke about the isolating nature of sexual violence that crosses all demographics and touches us all.
Burke was among a group of prominent activists dubbed “the silence breakers” who were collectively named Time magazine’s 2017 “Person of the Year.” Burke is currently the Senior Director at Girls for Gender Equality and is founder of “Just Be, Inc.,” a youth organization focused on the health, well being and wholeness of young women of color.
PPSWCF President and CEO Stephanie Kight, who took the nonprofit’s helm in February after serving in senior leadership roles at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio and California, said Burke’s powerful voice is reshaping our culture.
“Women get what we fight for,” said Kight. “I’m so excited to be here with all you fighters.”
Dr. Boyd Lindsley, PPSWCF board member and event co-chair with Debbie Mintzer and Dr. Jennifer Sandoval, welcomed guests and thanked presenting sponsor Alan Ginsburg. Dr. Sandoval introduced Burke, whose “Me Too” movement – popularized in 2017 with the hashtag #MeToo – has become a global phenomenon that has raised awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, abuse and assault in our society.
PPSWCF also introduced a new fundraising program, “Fight Per Swipe,” which allows participants to donate change from everyday credit or debit card purchases to the nonprofit at www.plannedparenthood.harnessapp.com
With four local health centers in the Orlando area, Planned Parenthood provides a full range of reproductive health care services including birth control, STI testing and screening, hormone replacement therapy for transgender community members, options education, and access to safe and legal abortion.
PPSWCF covers 22 counties and operates 11 health centers located in Fort Myers, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Manatee, Naples, Orlando, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa. Today, the organization collectively serve 42,000 patients and host 51,000 health visits annually. Go to myplannedparenthood.org or call 941-365-3913 for more information.