For anyone who identifies as female, the world is a different place than it used to be. Inequities still exist, but advocates everywhere are rejecting old school standards, and the world is changing as we speak.
From body positivity to gender neutrality to equal pay for equal work, new wave feminism is bringing all kinds of issues to the proverbial table. Nowhere is this clearer than at LadyFest, Miami's annual conference that's all about embracing femininity in its many forms.
A grassroots effort that's run by volunteers, LadyFest is designed to help women and girls tell their stories, learn, grown, and get inspired. Last year, 10 women were at the helm, and this year that number has grown to 30, including more women of color, youth, and transgender participants. This year it's presented by Survivor's Pathway, a non-profit that provides counseling and advocacy for LGBTQI and Latino communities and victims of gender based violence.
"LadyFest Miami arose out of a need for spaces centered on and filled with women, a need to heal our fragmented community of women, and the desire to begin fostering a sense of sisterhood in Miami," says festival organizer Vanni Cardenas. "The purpose of LadyFest Miami is to begin filling that void by providing an inclusive space for ALL women and their allies to unite, engage, heal, and celebrate."
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This year's edition of the event (its second annual) will feature 26 workshops and showcase 45 performers, musicians, artists and exhibitors, including performance artist Daniella Bertoldi, singer/songwriter Dama Vickie, video artist Carla Forte, living artist Reily Perez-Nomm, comedian Dom, spoken word poet May Reign, and dozens of other talented females. Workshops will include topics like gender, racial and reproductive justice, body positivity, climate change, and health and healing, among others.
There'll also be a youth zone for 14- to 20-year-olds, a family zone, a youth-led safe space, Spanish/English interpretation for some workshops, free HIV/STI testing, and a free market swap where people can donate and/or shop for free.
"We see LadyFest Miami as more than the two-day festival," explains Cardenas. "It’s a platform that engages our community and uplifts the most critical issues facing women and girls in our local community. It’s a strong local group of women, youth, and allies building community, challenging the status quo, celebrating womanhood and facilitating access for all women. We do this through art, music, poetry, workshops, partnering with local organizations, hosting fun social events and practicing conscious and consensus-based decision-making in our planning."
LadyFest Miami takes place on Friday, September 25, at MADE at the Citadel, 8325 NE Second Ave., Miami, and Saturday, September 26th at the LAB, 400 NW 26th St., Miami, and Wynwood Cafe, 450 NW 27th St., Miami. Registration is free, but donations are welcome. Visit ladyfestmiami.com.