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Rocking for Rights

Major political issues are the subjects of many conversations as election time draws near. For decades, one of the most controversial issues has been abortion.

Rather than rally on campus or hand out fliers voicing their opinions, some students are taking their fight for a woman’s right to choose straight to Skipper’s Smokehouse on Saturday, where the issue will be addressed in a more relaxed format — a concert.

Hosted by the Feminist Student Alliance, Rock 4 Choice will feature bands, acoustic musicians and local artists’ works, all to support the pro-choice movement. As a way to raise money for the cause, artists were asked to donate the sales of the pieces they display at the event. The art sale is student-based, and pieces will be priced at less than $50.

Proceeds from Rock 4 Choice will be donated to W.O.M.E.N., the Women for Choice Organization that focuses on the reproductive rights of women.

This is the group’s fourth Rock 4 Choice event The Feminist Student Alliance is hoping to surpass last year’s turnout of fewer than 200 people with a goal of 250 attendees, said Janive Santini, alliance president.

Beyond raising money for the organization, the alliance is trying to increase awareness of the pro-choice movement. By doing this, alliance members hope to protect the rights granted by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that made abortion legal in the United States.

Santini said a Republican president could be a threat to the pro-choice campaign, since there are three ailing Supreme Court judges nearing retirement age and a Republican president could instate additional conservative judges, which could lead to Roe v. Wade being challenged and overturned.

Alliance members said that the feminist movement has made a lot of progress over the past few decades, but there is still a long way to go. Though many issues facing women have improved, they have not vanished completely, said fundraising director Jeanmarie Alexi. Women have the right to vote and Hillary Clinton ran for president, but women are still not receiving equal pay and Roe v. Wade is continuously being challenged, she said.

“The blanket of feminism ideology is just equality for all sexes, genders, races, orientations — anything. I don’t see why anyone would be against that,” said Daniella Filipponi, alliance secretary. “There are still issues to fight, it’s not over.”

Additional organizations participating in the event are Equality Florida, USF Advocacy Program, VOX: Students for Choice and W.O.M.E.N. The event will also feature a booth to support the Barack Obama campaign.

The Rock 4 Choice concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Skipper’s Smoke House. A minimum  donation of $10 is required for entry.