The fact that the first National Women’s Convention in 40 years was hosted in Detroit last weekend should tell us something (else) about the growing significance and relevance of Detroit on the national and international stage. Those of us who have lived here for awhile remain well aware of all that remains to be done to make this city live up to the hype that Detroit Is Back.
But for many of those who don’t? All they seem to know is that something big is happening out here and they want to come and see for themselves. Because not only was the Women’s Convention in town last week, but so was the World Conference of Mayors. The keynote speaker was the former President of Nigeria, one of Africa’s wealthiest and most powerful men.
In many ways, Detroit is becoming America’s new center of gravity.
The keynote speaker for the Women’s Convention was Rep. Maxine Waters, who has become a virtual mega-celebrity on the political left for her relentlessly fearless – and much admired – attacks on the current placeholder in the White House. When you look up the definition of Strong Black Woman, you’re likely to see a photo of Maxine Waters. Look up the definition of Strong Women All Races All Colors, and there she is again.
For those unaware, the Women’s Convention was organized by Women’s March, the same organization responsible for kickstarting all those massive rallies that popped up around the world like brushfires the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Trump may have bragged about how he grabbed women by their genitalia, but the backlash he sparked among a number of women suggests they are laying plans to grab Dear Leader by the marbles at the voting booth in coming elections. According to the Detroit Free Press:
“The convention is expected to draw 5,000 people to Cobo Center, where women and their supporters will come together to strategize about how to become more effective activists and political leaders in their communities in the run up to the 2018 midterm elections.
Another clear window into the purpose and motivation behind the conference could be found simply by perusing the titles of some of the workshops and sessions that had been planned. Lawyering for Gender Equity in the Age of Trump focused on the very real concern that women of all ages have faced a far more dangerous terrain to navigate since Donald trump was elected despite being such an open and unapologetic Groper In Chief. The discussion focused on the work that civil rights lawyers have done to defend women of all ages in areas such as school discipline disparities for girls of color, workplace discrimination, health care access, and protections against violence for Native and LGBTQ communities. Another discussion entitled 94 Percent Voted Against Trump: Following Black Women in 2018 centered around the 3rd Annual Power of the Sister Vote Poll released by The Black Women’s Roundtable showing that an increasing number of African American women are angry that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans really care what they think. And act accordingly.
It should be safe to say that the overwhelming majority of women who attended the conference were most likely left of center politically. But given how much Trump has offended so many, including former supporters who didn’t believe what they were about to get until it choked them, I wouldn’t be surprised if a larger than expected contingent from the further right also showed up, even if undercover.
It may turn out that some of the best things Trump ever did for this country are outcomes he is personally responsible for but never intended.