Mill concert to benefit women's rights


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“Women’s rights are like the canary in the coal mine,” former Sen. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in October 2014. “If you don’t protect women’s rights here at home and around the world, everybody’s rights are lost.”

With 1,800 people immersed in her every word, Rodham Clinton relayed this message as she stumped for then-North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan in the latter’s re-election bid. Little did Rodham Clinton know her declaration would spark the creative and comic genius of Iowa feminists seeking to speak out.

In its début appearance, the Canaries will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St. All of the proceeds will benefit the Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC.

“It’s a way of showing support and rallying the community around women’s health-care issues, and Planned Parenthood symbolizes that for us,” said marketing director and performer KT Hawbaker-Krohn.

Last year, the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby came before the Supreme Court. In its ruling, the court decided that closely held, for-profit corporations cannot be forced under the Affordable Care Act to provide certain contraceptives to their employees if that offends the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owner.

Jarred by what she perceived as an unfair decision, Canaries founder and University of Iowa theater Lecturer Megan Gogerty felt compelled to take a stand through what she knows best — performance.

“I realized that I may not be able to change everybody’s mind, but maybe what I could do was get some of the people who do agree with me to give money” she said. “Instead of just voicing our frustrations and ranting about it on social media, let’s turn it into dollars. Let’s raise hell and dollars. Let’s put our money where our mouth is and see if we can give some attention to an organization that has the ability to do something about it.”

After gaining permission from the Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC, Gogerty formed a team of performance artists and began organizing.

Hawbaker-Krohn said she enjoys getting to reach out to people with the message.

“It really shows the connection between women in art and women in health care,” she said. “All of these things are linked in really profound ways, though we often want to act like they’re separate. Storytelling is a form of activism itself, and that form of activism can give volume to women’s health-care issues.”

The Canaries Raise Hell and Dollars: A Fundraiser for Planned Parenthood Voters of Iowa PAC
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Mill, 120 E. Burlington
Admission: Donations

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