Event Culture: "Women of the World" Festival
The Apollo Theatre located at W 125th st at Harlem, New York hosted the “Women of The World Festival.” This event is an international event that started in the United Kingdom with panelist of women whom share stories of racial identity, activism and Inclusivity. The result of this event is to bring awareness to people about social issues with the delivery of a women. I have never heard about this event before arriving so when I saw the event being shared on social media I knew I had to attend.
I have never been inside of the Apollo Theatre so I didn’t know what to expect. There wasn’t a line outside of the door that I imagined would’ve been there after seeing #wowApollo trending on twitter with over 200 people mentioning this event on twitter. I walked up to the door only to be stopped by security and be asked to present a ticket. I was confused because I thought the event was free and no ticket was needed. Apparently, people needed tickets to rsvp because the theatre could only hold but so many people. After talking to security, he told me to go to the ticket booth and ask for one. Fortunately, I secured my ticket and walked in with no other issues.
The first panel I walked into was one called “Period Rights.” Four women talked about the Tampon Tax. This is the addition of tax on sanitary napkins that some women cannot afford. The tax has been used in 24 states but only 3 have done away with it. Nadya Okamoto, co-founder of Period, an organization used to bring awareness to menstrual cycles, alternatives to use besides tampons and to erase the stigma of periods. Okamoto talked about being homeless and going through the emotions of having to deal with her period. She was told to use toilet paper, brown paper bags or “Sit in a park and wait it out.” She realized that women in shelters live this reality every day and created Period.org.
The other panel I went to was called “Please don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” This panel included a group of transgender women whom talked about being overshadowed as someone who is transgender instead of just being an educator or an activist. Cece McDonald was one of the panelist that talked about her past and where she is now. She is the subject of the documentary called “Free CeCe” produced by actress Laverne Cox. She talked about her upbringing and the lack of support she had with her transition.
I enjoyed this event full of female panelist because I learned about different social issues that affect women. As a regular consumer of menstrual products, I never knew of a tampon tax and how this makes women look for other alternatives. I have never been to a public space where women were blunt about their menstrual cycles. By hearing them speak about it I was happy to erase the stigma of menstrual cycles in my mind.