RIDGEFIELD \u2014 Chants of \u201cWe are not powerless\u201d could be heard loudly inside the Ridgefield Playhouse as several hundred people gathered for an event called \u201cA Night of Education & Action with ImpaCT.\u201d On stage was Jan\u00e9e Woods Weber, executive director of the CT Women\u2019s Education and Legal Fund, who told audience members they have \u201ca voice\u201d and can make a difference in women\u2019s rights. The Wednesday evening event organized by Ridgefield residents Jessica Mancini and Glori Norwitt, was in response to the June 24 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and revert authority to regulate abortion to voters and the states. The goal of the evening, according to Mancini, was to educate about action steps that can be taken \u201cto make change happen\u201d \u2014 both locally and nationally \u2014 through advocacy. \u201cWe understand that in advocacy, there\u2019s a lot of burnout because you\u2019re doing so many things. So we really wanted to bring all the nonprofits together so that people can really find out what they\u2019re passionate about, and then find out actions that are efficient for that organization so that they can move forward and be consistent with what they love,\u201d Mancini said. Speakers throughout the evening included Katie Kraschel, executive director of the Solomon Center for Health Law & Policy at Yale Law School, Peggy Reeves, former state election director, and Katie Friel, fellow at Brennan Center\u2019s Democracy Program at NYU Law. Additionally, in the Playhouse lobby, about a dozen \u201caction tables\u201d from organizations including Planned Parenthood, CT Against Gun Violence and The Center for Empowerment and Education, provided information. Tickets were $10 per person. Fighting for abortion rights When on stage, Amanda Skinner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said due to the June Supreme Court decision, Connecticut will see an increase in the need for abortion services, since \u201cabortion remains safe, legal and accessible\u201d in the state. She said there\u2019s a two-week wait for first-trimester aspiration abortion procedures at local health centers. \u201cWe have that because there\u2019s a shortage of abortion providers,\u201d she said. She added over 85 percent and up to 97 percent of OB-GYNs will say they have seen patients who asked for abortion care, and less than 20 percent \u2014 and sometimes 14 percent, actually provide abortion care. \u201cThere\u2019s a huge access gap for people seeking abortion care. And we needed to be able to expand the pool of clinicians \u2014 appropriate, high qualified, high quality health care professionals, who could provide first trimester aspiration abortions,\u201d she said. She added when a woman is looking for a first-trimester abortion, \u201ca two-week wait is way too long to ask somebody to wait. It is unacceptable.\u201d Skinner said a lot of the work at Planned Parenthood is focused on youth. \u201cIt\u2019s about working with parents and educators and help school professionals to ensure that what we are really doing is creating a society full of people who have full agency over their bodies, lives and futures, because not only do they have access to health care, not only do they operate a system that supports them actually being able to access health care, but they personally have information and knowledge,\u201d Skinner said. She referred to, and cheered, this week\u2019s development in Kansas after voters overwhelmingly backed a ballot measure protecting abortion rights. Abortion should be discussed abortion more openly by sharing one\u2019s personal story of abortion and showing support of others, when they share their own stories on the subject. She then shared her own story about having an abortion. She said volunteers are always needed to make phone calls, knock on doors, and support public leaders who are pro-choice. Other issues In Weber\u2019s speech, she addressed the topic of gender discrimination, saying many women \u201cremain economically burdened by income and wealth disparities due to our gender.\u201d She added for women of color, \u201cespecially Black woman like me, the reality is even worse because of the generational ongoing impact of racism.\u201d Showing a PowerPoint presentation about equal pay, she said women in Connecticut earn on average only 84 cents for every dollar paid to a man. \u201cThe gender wage gap is even more severe for women of color in Connecticut. Asian women make only 83 cents black woman make 57 Native (American) women make 53 (cents) and Latino women make only 48 cents,\u201d she said. She spoke of rights for hourly workers, \u201cwho often have no voice in their schedules. They work unpredictable hours that prevent them from securing child care, from receiving medical care or going to school.\u201d She said here needs to be legislation that provides stability and predictability to workers. \u201cWe need to require employers to set schedules in advance and provide compensation for last-minute changes,\u201d Weber said. \u201cWe also need a Fair Work Week bill that will guarantee that people have adequate rest periods between shifts so you can\u2019t be expected to close up shop at midnight and then report to work you know at 4 a.m. the next morning.\u201d Actions she said the public can take to encourage fair treatment in the workplace includes sharing their views with elected officials. Jeremy Stein, executive director of CT Against Gun Violence, spoke about keeping children safe from gun violence. He asked the audience if, upon entering the Playhouse, the thought occurred to them that a gunman could come in. After seeing many raised hands, he said, \u201cWe cannot live like this. And if you\u2019re not convinced already, there is a tremendous cost to gun violence.\u201d He said $1.2 billion is the annual cost of gun violence in the state of Connecticut, and $229 billion is what it costs the United States annually. \u201cThis is after the shooting happens,\u201d Stein said. He added two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States are by suicide. \u201cThat\u2019s something very personal to me. My own uncle killed himself. He was a veteran. He was depressed and he had a gun, and easy access,\u201d Stein said. \u201cAnd he used it.\u201d Over the last 30 years, CT Against Gun Violence has worked to educate the public about gun violence. In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, the organization and other advocates pushed for \u201csome of the strongest gun laws in this country,\u201d Stein said. He also spoke of Ethan\u2019s Law and a ghost gun ban and getting funding at the state level \u201cto make sure that we are concentrating on community level gun violence so we could stop the shootings that mostly affect Black and brown communities in Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and other places where they are seeing shootings almost every day. And that\u2019s what we have to follow up today.\u201d He encouraged audience members to vote for \u201ccommon sense\u201d gun laws \u2014 and to encourage others to do the same. He got the audience involved in his speech by having them repeat after him the words \u201cNot one more\u201d three times. \u201cLet\u2019s see a change we want to see in this world,\u201d Stein said.