NEW YORK, NY, Oct. 20, 2016 – On October 16, Planned Parenthood celebrated its centennial with more than 150 community events worldwide, including an event at City Hall in New York City, where the first birth control clinic in the U.S. was opened by Margaret Sanger 100 year earlier. Planned Parenthood staff, patients, activists, supporters, partners and elected officials gathered in the Rotunda on Sunday to wish the organization a happy 100th.
At the press conference, Planned Parenthood was presented with city, state, and federal proclamations, City Hall was lit up pink, and performance poet Sonya Renee Taylor closed the event with a poem she wrote specifically for Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary.
“As I stood in the rotunda of City Hall celebrating Planned Parenthood’s work over the last century, I was overwhelmed by how significant it was to be there. One hundred years before, and less than 10 miles away, Margaret Sanger was arrested for giving women information about birth control, and now we’re being honored by elected officials at all levels,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “While we have so much more work to do, it is powerful to reflect on just how much progress we have made.”
“We stand with you arm in arm realizing that us linked together is what is going to make sure our communities survive and thrive,” said Monica Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong.
New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray spoke at the event, including several other elected officials such as U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, who pledged to continue to support Planned Parenthood; New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who talked about working at an abortion clinic before Roe v. Wade; and New York State Assemblymember Latrice Walker, representing the district where Margaret Sanger opened the nation’s first clinic in Brownsville, Brooklyn, who spoke about her own decision to have an abortion and how Margaret Sanger’s work made it possible for her to have a child when she was ready.
“For 100 years Planned Parenthood has been part of the fabric of this incredible city,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City. “We’ve grown as the city has grown, and we’ve changed and adapted as the communities we serve have changed. The values of Planned Parenthood and New York City are deeply aligned — people come to NYC to pursue their goals and build their lives, and people come to Planned Parenthood for the very same reasons.”
This event was part of the #100YearsStrong campaign, a yearlong effort of action, sharing, and celebrating the progress Planned Parenthood has driven for women and families over the last 100 years. Throughout the day, supporters all over the world shared their best wishes and personal stories using #100YearsStrong, including President Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and celebrities including Laverne Cox, America Ferrera, Kristen Bell, and Mark Ruffalo. Actress Stephanie March penned a piece for Refinery29 about how Planned Parenthood has helped her.
“Margaret Sanger saw women’s lives stunted and unfulfilled,” said Alex Sanger, Chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council. “She saw enough. She said enough. She opened the clinic in Brooklyn that saved and changed women’s and children’s lives — it was the clinic that changed history.”
Read more about Planned Parenthood’s vision for the future in Cecile Richards’ op-ed in TIME, and the legacy of Margaret Sanger in PPFA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley’s op-ed in Medium.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.