“In America, you don’t get what you don’t fight for. So let the fight begin.”
– Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, July 11. 2016
Convention 2018 Recap
When women-identified folx come together, the possibilities are limitless. Platform’s 2018 Convention was an example of just that. From July 14-16, 85 young women-identified leaders gathered in Washington, D.C., to make sure their voices are heard in the rooms where decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures are made. Over the course of three days we were able to learn and collaborate with each other, and turn those meaningful conversations into action.
The weekend kicked off with six powerful policy workshops led by experts in the field and experts in their own lives. Our panelists shared their professional and personal knowledge of immigration rights, gun violence prevention, sexual violence prevention, economic justice, ending racial profiling and criminalization, and reproductive justice so our delegates could have a better understanding of the issues that matter to them. The panelists broke down the intersections of each of these issues, and delegates were able to think about the policies and identities left out of the existing framework as we went into day two.
Momentum didn’t slow on day two—it only accelerated. Delegates were able to dive right into developing the points they wanted to see in our final legislative agenda with the words of our inspirational speakers ringing in their ears. Our Keynote Speaker Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry encouraged us to ask what truths are missing as we navigate this space of activism and politics. Her words—and those of all our captivating speakers—motivated us to have the tough conversations necessary to truly make the changes we want to see.
On Monday morning we were able to march into our 31 congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers, with an agenda to hold our elected officials accountable for preserving, protecting, and respecting the humanity, equality, identity, and rights of each person. Our delegates traveled from across the country to meet their lawmakers in Washington, and ask them to work on ending racial profiling and the criminalization of women and girls-identified people of color, protecting immigrants’ rights and opportunities, ensuring economic justice for all women-identified people, ending sexual violence and providing protection for all survivors, putting an end to gun violence, and providing access to and protection of our reproductive justice.
We look forward to continuing the work with the community formed that weekend and battling alongside them in this fight for justice and equality.
Offices We Met With
Senators Doug Jones (AL), Richard Shelby (AL), Kamala Harris (CA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Ben Cardin (MD), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Tina Smith (MN), Richard Burr (NC), Cory Booker (NJ), Bob Menendez (NJ), Chuck Schumer (NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Sherrod Brown (OH), Maria Cantwell (WA), Patty Murray (WA).
Representatives Pete Aguilar (CA-31), Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Katherine Clark (MA-5), Dave Trott (MI-11), Tom Emmer (MN-6), George Holding (NC-02) Frank Pallone (NJ-6), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Grace Meng (NY-6), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), Tom Reed (NY-23), Joyce Beatty (OH-3), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7).
Convention 2016 Recap
In July 2016, the Platform team hosted what was intended to be a one-time Convention. The goal was to bring young women from across the country together ahead of the 2016 Election in order to create an agenda that would inform elected officials that if they want our votes, they have a duty to protect our rights. From July 11 to July 13, we were joined by over 35 women from 13 different states. We participated in 8 expert-led workshops designed to expand the conversation around “women’s issues.” Workshops included the intersection of gender and Disability Rights led by the Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability and Employment Policy as well as College Affordability led by the Managing Director of Generation Progress. We heard from women paving the way: Senator Mazie Hirono, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and “Top 40 Under 40 Lobbyist” Dee Martin. On the last day we took our agenda, the “Declaration of 21st Century Feminism,” and met with 29 Congressional offices.
Highlight Moment: When our Declaration was finished, it was time to choose a title. One woman stood up and said that she did not always feel like the feminist movement represented her, but because of Platform she is proud to be a feminist and proud to be a part of a movement she helped create. That is how the delegates arrived at the title, “Declaration of 21st Century Feminism.”
Platform belongs to each of us and we will build it together.
Testimonials from Convention 2016
“I am and was honored to be a member of Platform this year as it was one of the most significant points of my life. Surrounding myself and meeting tier 1 individuals, I wholeheartedly believe that I was surrounded by the best of the best. Together a group of young women stood drafting the first Declaration of 21st Century Feminism. Not only acting as a symbol of unity but overall change. I can only say that our actions today and of the past few days are the seeds to something more powerful and only the beginning. A special thank you to our leader, Jennifer Mandelblatt, there hasn’t been enough words and/terms to describe the power of one woman let alone multiple women standing together. Starting with now, there is more to come and we couldn’t have chosen a better time to get in formation”- Imaghe Paul, MA
“Last year, I attended the first annual Platform Convention in DC which I can whole-heartedly say changed my life. I feel more educated, enlightened, empowered, and prepared to affect change in this country. While society has routinely tried to show me that I might say this “even though” I’m a woman, I’m going to push further and say that I say this because I am a woman (and as I learned at the convention, the most underused power in the United States is a woman’s power). Everyone’s feminism is different, and in order to obtain true equality, we must be allies to those whose version of feminism is different than our own. All people are created equal and I know now more than ever that we cannot wait any longer to embody that. To the women I met at Platform: thank you. Thank you for teaching me so much more than I even realized existed in the world and also in myself. You taught me to not only surround myself with strong women, but to be a strong woman so that I can do my best to support you as well. “In America, you don’t get what you don’t fight for. So let the fight begin”- Dominique, FL
*Dominique was a delegate at our inaugural Convention. The experience inspired her to become more involved and now she serves on the Director Team
“I have so many feelings about the Platform Convention. The women I met, the stories I heard, and the ideas with which I engaged all served as an indescribably fierce source of energy to me. Together, we wrote the Declaration of 21st Century Feminism, personally delivered/explained it to multiple members of Congress, and lobbied for related legislation. Together, we spoke up; inspired by the passions of our foremothers and she-roes. We reminded one another of the power we wield as impassioned women, and we reminded Washington of where that passion is being channeled. Thank you so sincerely for your tireless effort and extraordinary vision, Jennifer Mandelblatt. You pulled off something truly spectacular this summer.”- Shannon, NJ
“I attended Platform during the summer of my first-year of college, and I can fully attest that it has made a huge impact on my academic and professional career. As a Political Science major, it was really beneficial for me to apply my lobbying experience gained at Platform to the classroom. Most importantly, I have made strong friendships with girls from all different corners of the country!”- Kimberly, MI
“I was invited to attend Platform by the amazing founder herself. Jen’s drive for justice, equity, and activism made it easy to say yes to a new experience. At the convention, I gained many new skill sets and experiences that have helped me be an active citizen and an empowered woman. I learned more about legislation that was and is affecting marginalized groups such as people with disabilities, of difference ethnicities, genders and socio economic backgrounds. I learned how to hear others’ ideas for reform and change, as well as discuss my own ideas. Platform helped me feel like my voice was strong and gave me skill sets for talking to my representatives, senators, and legislative aides, as well as other citizens about ideas for change. The discussions I was able to be a part of, the lectures I was able to hear, and the information I still receive from them keep me up to date on the world, what my role is in it, how I can support my gender in their struggles for justice, and how to advocate for myself. I really value what my sisters shared with me in our discussions and the empowerment I gained from this experience. Their work for including and hearing all women and their struggles regardless of background is incredibly valuable because it gives a deep breadth of who women are and what we experience as a group and depending on our other identities. I look forward to supporting and attending future Platform conventions as it continues to empower me and others.”- Calista, NC