DETROIT — Buttons, T-shirts and posters are often the parting gifts of national conventions. But the takeaways from the Women's Convention in Detroit that concluded Sunday were intangible and much more important.
Consider running for office. Help get out the vote. Fight voter suppression. Speak out in your community. Stand up for women's voices in your workplace.
Those are just a few of the tasks being considered by the 4,000-plus women who attended the three-day gathering. As the final program on Sunday asked in its title, "Where do we go from here?"
It's a question that evokes mixed reactions.
Pam Akerstrom of Minneapolis said Saturday that she found the road ahead "inspiring yet depressing at the same time."
The women's movement is doing an amazing job, according to Akerstrom. But there is so much work to be done.
"I feel like I was really naive about social progress. I thought it was a slow, steady march," she said. "To have it stop in its tracks and be thrown backwards, it's been gut-wrenching."
Kristy Stanford of Detroit, on the other hand, felt ready to shift into high gear with her goals.
"Listening to everyone speak and uplift everyone else, it really moved me to get more involved in running for something," said Stanford as she contemplated pursuing a local government seat.
The event was the first convention organized by the Women's March, the grassroots movement born from concerns about how Donald Trump's presidency could negatively impact women, and a roster of minorities groups.
There were many highlights for the thousands of women (and a smattering of men) who represented a diversity of races, ethnicities, age demographics, sexual orientations and physical abilities.
There was the super-energizing speech on Saturday by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who led the enthusiastic crowd inside Hall D at Cobo Center in a "Impeach 45" chant.
There also was a newsmaking appearance Friday by Rose McGowan. The actress/activist made her first public remarks in Detroit since becoming a figure in the fight against sexual harassment and assault sparked by the allegations of multiple women, including McGowan, against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Over the course of a single weekend, the Women's Convention held more than 172 workshops focused on education, skills training and civic engagement, a Saturday night concert starring Melanie Fiora, and yoga classes as part of a self-care segment.
When Women's March treasurer Carmen Perez tried to gauge how many women had actually used the self-care options at the concluding Sunday session, there was only a smattering of applause.
"Uh-oh, ohhh, I'm going to put that on my list," said Perez. "We need more self-care encouragement."
That fine-tuning suggestion was part of the final session of the convention, titled "Where Do We Go From Here?" During it, Perez noted the need for more representation of indigenous women and the trans and LGBT community.
But the concluding gathering spent most of its time discussing how to translate resistance to the Trump administration's policies into action.
Conventiongoers said they're taking home a range of ideas on what to do next, from running for office to doing some soul-searching.
Trump's presidency has spurred a sharp uptick in women wanting to enter politics, as Emily's List president Stephanie Schriock informed conventiongoers. According to Schriock, more than 20,000 women — or as she called them, "the next decade of leaders" — have expressed interest in running for office.
If those numbers bear fruit, it could equal the surge of women who entered politics in 1992, the year Anita Hill testified to U.S. senators about being sexual harassed by then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas. A record 24 women won seats in the House that year, plus hundreds ran for school boards, county commissions and state legislatures, according to Time magazine.
Practical political advice on topics like organizing rapid-response rallies was part of the convention. So was self-examination. A "Confronting White Womanhood" panel turned out to be one of the most popular and talked-about workshops.
Akerstrom said she came to Detroit to explore the meaning of her privilege, a topic addressed in the panel.
"I think it's my obligation (to learn more about it) and I didn't understand that until recently," said Akerstrom. "I've been given the luxury, but I don't want to take the luxury."
The panel had the difficult agenda of confronting the reality that, for centuries, violence was committed in the name of white women. And it encouraged the sharing of personal experiences about how white women benefit from their privilege without even realizing it.
It was so popular, a decision was made to repeat the Friday panel on Saturday.
"It was an incredibly powerful session," said Natalie Grant of San Francisco, who attended the Saturday session. "I think challenging some of these assumptions (is important), the idea you can look at something you've seen a thousand times and then can realize it's not that way at all."
Grant, whose job involves virtual reality technology, said she is taking many things home from the convention, all detailed in 50 pages of notes she took. She considers her potential for being a voice for women in Silicon Valley "a huge responsibility."
"How can I help shape the narratives?" said Grant, describing how she plans to focus on the need to include a diverse range of female stories in video games and virtual reality.
A Sunday panel on women and the media emphasized the value of women telling their own stories and amplifying those of other women.
"Whether you work at a major magazine or not, every one of us has the power to be a citizen journalist," said Natasha Alford, deputy editor of the online site The Grio.
Alford cited the impact of the viral video shot by Diamond Reynolds, who "pulled out her phone and went live on Facebook" as her boyfriend, Philando Castile, was fatally shot by a police officer.
The convention's wide variety of topics and panelists impressed Merriel Bullock-Neal, an attorney and former university professor from Clarksville, Tenn., who attended the media panel.
"Unity does not mean uniformity," said Bullock-Neal. "That was one of the pluses of the convention. The diversity of topics, it gave people an opportunity to choose which are most dear to them and to take them back to their communities."
Bullock-Neal feels the Women's March should keep holding activities like the convention to sustain the current momentum.
"You're going to continue (to need) to have events that talk about what progress has been made, to keep people interested."
Follow Julie Hinds on Twitter: @juliehinds