Newly formed Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights hosts dance party to raise funds for Planned Parenthood

Some of the women who made the dance party possible. From left: Diana Hamann, Aim Larrabee, Katherine Gotsick (squatting), Jamie Thome, Ailie Ayres, Jaime Leonardi and Joanna Kramer. Credit: Duncan Agnew

Less than two weeks ago, a group of women entrepreneurs in Evanston came together to form Evanstonians for Reproductive Rights,

On Sunday, July 31, the group hosted over 300 people at The Custer Oasis, just south of Main Street, for an “Old School Vinyl Dance Party for Reproductive Rights” where attendees enjoyed a raffle of items. like a painting by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, drinks from The Wine Goddess, tacos from La Principal and vintage tunes played by DJ Tim of Squeezebox.

“We all work separately on our little vacuums, but every now and then when we get together it’s kind of insane what we can all do,” said Jaime Leonardi, owner of a Chicago Avenue jewelry and gift shop called Tripping and Savoring.

Diana Hamann, owner of The Wine Goddess on Main Street, had already planned the party when Rachel Hershinow, owner of Stella Boutique on Central Street, gathered other women in local businesses to talk about what they could do after the Supreme Court toppled Roe. v. Wade.

For Leonardi, the new group’s goal is to raise $100,000 for Planned Parenthood of Illinois using GoFundMe. On the page, there is a question that asks, “What the hell is going on?” She responds as follows: “A lot of business owners in Evanston are angry that our reproductive rights are being taken away and more rights are being threatened. So now they are getting busy.”

Sunday’s dance party sold 300 tickets for $20 each, raising $3,000 before the event even took place. In addition, all proceeds from the raffle, which costs $10 per ticket, will go towards fundraising, and Aim and Ailee Hair Boutique, co-owned by Aim Larrabee and Ailie Ayres, also provided hairdressing services at the party for raise more money.

Moving forward, a group of local businesses will donate a portion of the proceeds August 11-14, and the final push for donations will come at the Nasty Women of Evanston Fundraiser, hosted by Evanston Made. From 6pm to 9pm on August 20, at 1100 Florence Ave., people will be able to purchase special pieces donated by local artists for $100 each, and Evanston Made has set a goal of $25,000 just for that night.

“It’s the power of community, and if people work together, everyone stands up,” said Jamie Thome, a local artist and organizer for Nasty Women of Evanston. “This is a testament to that, but it’s also a testament to how Evanston cares about everyone, and how Evanstonians literally come together, not just for a party, because that’s part of what we’re doing, but also to raise money for great people. causes we all believe in.”

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