In a historic move, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament witnessed a groundbreaking decision on April 28 as the club behind it voted to invite women to serve on the feast committee.

With the vote yielding an overwhelming 85% approval for women to join the committee, Feast President Tony Abreu reflected on the journey leading to the decision.

When asked about his apprehensions preceding the vote, Abreu admitted to some nervousness but expressed confidence in the outcome.

Abreu highlighted the importance of embracing change and emphasized his longstanding support for gender inclusivity, rooted in personal experience and a belief in equal opportunity for all members of the Madeiran heritage community.

He also clarified that both women and men must serve on the feast committee before becoming club members, allowing them to pursue leadership roles, signaling a major change in tradition and representation.

READ MORE: Captivating Madeiran Dance Will Take Center Stage at the Feast

There was also a significant change in the vote margin following Sunday's outcome. The popular vote shifted from division to strong support, which Abreu credited to greater awareness and a deeper understanding achieved through direct conversations with women affected by the decision.

Despite initial concerns about potential backlash or boycotts, Abreu praised the unity and commitment demonstrated by the women, who have already begun contributing to the upcoming festivities. After all, the Feast is family-oriented and to boycott against the feast as a volunteer, worker, or member, would be equivalent to boycotting against your own family, Abreu said.

As the Madeira Feast prepares to welcome a new era of diversity and inclusion, Abreu expressed optimism for the future, anticipating a renewed vibrancy and quality in the celebration.

With the stage set for increased Portuguese entertainment and participation, The Feast is ready to celebrate its heritage while moving forward with inclusivity.

Additional Reporting by Nick McLeod

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