Musicians Will Rock for Reproductive Rights in Sag Harbor

A benefit for Planned Parenthood on Friday
Nona Hendryx, best known as part of the trio Labelle, will perform in a fund-raiser for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic Friday at Bay Street Theater.

Those who believe in a woman’s right to choose are amply concerned about the decades-long effort to erode and even obliterate that right. As the battle to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court intensified last week amid an accusation of sexual assault, the struggle reached a new level: Judge Kavanaugh’s statements to questioning senators were vague, and in the minds of abortion rights activists, evasive. Abortions rights in the United States, they fear, may hang in the balance. 

Planned Parenthood Federation of America provides a variety of reproductive health services, to women and men alike, at clinics across the country. Those services, however, have been limited in some regions by antichoice activists who seek to outlaw abortion and, in the meantime, make obtaining one as burdensome as possible. Some have resorted to violence to achieve that goal. 

One 16-year-old activist wants to help protect a woman’s right to choose, and with the help of some very talented and successful musicians and artists, her ambitious plan will come to fruition Friday night at 7, when Nona Hendryx, Vernon Reid and Friends, and the Zach Zunis Band perform at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. The concert, and an art auction, will benefit Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic’s programs and services on the East End. 

Rock for Our Rights in the Hamptons is the brainchild of Bronte Zunis of the South Fork. “It just came about that I really wanted to do something for people who didn’t have money for the health care they deserve, especially in this time,” she said last week. “Our rights as people, as women, are being ripped away from us. We haven’t even gotten to equality. That was a big thing, it really struck me as something important that I could do for the community.”

Bronte works as an intern for the photographer Michael Halsband, and took note of a button he was wearing that displayed the Planned Parenthood logo. “He very nicely introduced me to the director of development,” Jenifer Van Deinse, “to get this whole event started.” 

“This event is really vital for us for a number of reasons,” Ms. Van Deinse said, “not only with the constant assaults on funding and the threats we receive. We provide a vital service to individuals, particularly on the East End where their options are somewhat limited.” The nearest Planned Parenthood clinic is in Riverhead. 

“We provide their care no matter what, regardless of whether they have insurance or can pay for the services provided,” she said. “We’re there for them.”

A family friend connected Bronte and her father, Zach Zunis, who works at The Star, with Danny Kapilian, a music and live event producer. “He came up with a couple of names that we thought would be perfect” for the concert, Bronte said. The Grammy-nominated Ms. Hendryx may be best known as a member of the trio Labelle, of “Lady Marmalade” fame. Mr. Reid won two Grammy Awards as a founding member of Living Colour and has enjoyed a long career as a solo artist and producer. Mr. Zunis is a guitarist who has played with blues artists including William Clarke, Billy Boy Arnold, Janiva Magness, and the Red Devils. 

Bronte is producing the event. Mr. Kapilian is the evening’s music producer, and Nitchie Zunis, Bronte’s mother, is serving as event coordinator. 

Tickets for Rock for Our Rights in the Hamptons are $30 and $75 and are available at Guests bearing the $75 ticket have been invited to a private pre-concert cocktail reception and art auction at Tutto Il Giorno restaurant, also in Sag Harbor, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Curated by Pamela Willoughby, the auction features works by more than 20 artists including Eric Fishl, Steve Miller, April Gornik, and Dalton Portella, which will be available for bid there and at Paddle8.

Bronte is among the groundswell of activist youth asserting their rights, be it to the availability of health care, reproductive freedom, or safety from gun violence. The midterm elections are less than six weeks away, and their outcome, and the future composition of the Supreme Court, will in large part determine the country these young people will inherit. 

“It’s hard,” she said, “but it’s really important to be optimistic while also being realistic in the way you go about it, to have an understanding of how much this will affect people’s lives. Lives will be lost without health care, period.”