One of President Trump’s first actions upon entering the Oval Office was signing an executive order barring federal funds from organizations that promote abortion around the world, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation. More recently the House voted to allows states to withhold funds from facilities that provide abortion services, meaning that medical clinics like Planned Parenthood would lose approximately $300 million in annual funding.
Vast protests have already taken place against this legislation, with Planned Parenthood being one of the central themes in the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st.
Here in New York City, documentarian and photographer Lilly Merrick has found a unique way to support Planned Parenthood by organizing a politically fueled warehouse party, aptly named The Resisdance. By combining music and politics, “you can march all the way from the streets to the dance floor whilst raising money for worthy causes.”
The Resisdance is a fusion of a Saturday night party and a social activism event which, according to founder Lilly Winter Merrick, creates a platform for young people “to put their body where their tweets were.” Lilly believes that recent political turmoils has created an impetus within young people to repudiate the new administrations ideologies, and politically themed parties like this this can further galvanize and unify this wave. “There is a movement happening in the world. There’s a movement happening in our generation. There’s mobilization of young people within politics. Right now, I feel like there is a need for it,” she says.
The party will take place on March 4th in a warehouse at 230 Bogart Street in Brooklyn with a very female heavy lineup of DJs. Planned Parenthood is endorsing the event (and also giving lots of free condoms), with the funds of the venue going to Planned Parenthood. In addition to great techno and deep house music, the event will also feature lots of politically and socially inspired art from local artists “so its not just another party”. “We’ve curated a really great lineup and everyone is really passionate about the cause, so I think the vibe will be great,” she remarks.
The incentive for the party came after the Women’s March on Washington. Like many others, Lilly was overwhelmed and shocked by the election results for quite some time. She decided to start filming a documentary which would be about observing a five-day countdown to the inauguration, with the finale being the Women’s March on Washington, on January 21st. It was in D.C that Lilly found out about a warehouse party that happened immediately after the march. Lilly describes the vibe as amazing. “You knew everyone who was there was there for the exact same reason. They had been marching on the streets and then they were there unified by the music and you knew you were around a loving crew. You knew you were around people who felt the same way and were passionate enough to put themselves there,” she says.
After receiving an email from Micah White, one of the original founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement, calling for a global party on February 4th to keep the momentum from the Women’s March going, Lilly was spurred to throw her own politically themed party. Her idea for a “small house party” grew larger and larger as more people wanted to be a part of it. She tells us that for her, “to merge politics and music is a very natural thing to do, but not often done.” Given the international repercussions that defunding Planned Parenthood would have for women, she decided that it ought to be where the money should be raised for.
When asked about the logistics of organizing a warehouse party and the risk of being shutdown, Lilly remarked that finding a space is not difficult as long as you know just one person, and since the spaces are fully licensed there is no risk of being shutdown. The owners of the warehouses have already obtained a license in most cases, making the parties legitimate. Although in her case it was slightly different given that she was hosting the party as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood. Lilly tell us that for her the challenge was finding people who would be willing to facilitate the party for very little money, being that the funds are intended to go the Planned Parenthood.
While Lilly intends focus on film, documentary, and photography, she would like to host further parties as “the icing on the cake.” “I travel a lot so I’d like to be able to do it in lots of different places,” she says. “It’s really important to focus on issues that are relevant right now that people can get behind. There’s so many issues to care about. This is the first one, and we’ll continue to do more afterwards and we’ll change the organization that we’re supporting.”
Tickets for The Resisdance March Fourth Party can be bought here.