Rivertowns Residents Unite to Raise Money to Support Reproductive Rights 

Rivertowns for Reproductive Rights, a group of about 30 local women from half a dozen Rivertowns in Westchester County, is raising money to increase access to reproductive care in New York.

The group is hoping to raise $35,000 this year through its second annual fundraiser, “Dance for Choice,” on Sept. 21 at HudCo in Dobbs Ferry, monetary donations, and an auction made possible through the donations of local individuals and businesses. While tickets to the event are sold out, the auction is live through Sept. 24.

About 50 local restaurants, small businesses, and artists from the Rivertowns have donated items for the auction, ranging from gift certificates and designer handbags to a three-month cheese of the month club membership and Broadway tickets.

Donations can be made here: https://go.rallyup.com/r4rr/Campaign/Details.

The auction can be accessed here: https://go.rallyup.com/r4rr/Auction/Details.

“Every dollar donated to this fundraiser will go directly to helping a patient access the abortion care they need, regardless of their means or whether they live in a state that has restricted abortion rights,” says Leslie Seery, founder of Rivertowns for Reproductive Rights.

All proceeds go to the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF.) The fund helps women living in and traveling to New York state who need financial support to pay for an abortion.

“We knew that following the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, New York would be a destination for people across the country to access abortion, but we couldn’t predict just how large that surge in demand would be,” said Karla Salguero, a NYAAF board member. “The funds we raise during Dance for Choice ensure we can continue to meet the urgent need for financial support.”

Seery, an Irvington mother and former middle-school science teacher, created Rivertowns for Reproductive Rights and connected with NYAAF after Roe v. Wade was overturned.

“I felt a very intense feeling of helplessness and fear,” said Seery. “I am a mother of three daughters and I knew I had to find a way to make a difference.”

The inaugural fundraiser held last September raised about $25,000, which was donated to the New York Abortion Access Fund.

After the success of the event, Rivertowns for Reproductive Rights grew through word of mouth. This year, about 30 women from Rivertowns stretching from Hastings-on-Hudson to Ossining were involved in the group’s growing activism and educational opportunities as well as planning this year’s fundraiser.

“At a moment when so many of us felt completely hopeless, Rivertowns for Reproductive Rights gave us a way to build hope and a brighter future, in partnership with amazing organizations like NYAAF,” said member Jessica Galen.

In addition to fundraisers, the group is looking to grow its activism through advocacy, canvassing and other events. Interested community members can find out about upcoming opportunities by following @rivertowns4reprorights on Instagram and signing up for email updates here.

“I hope to expand our work by finding more ways to support women’s reproductive health other than simply raising funds,” said Seery. “We will continue to build a community passionate about reproductive justice.”

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