Hit the dance floor and bust a move for peace? Sure – Oregon PeaceWorks’ annual fundraiser “Give Peace A Dance” is celebrating its 28th year. This year’s theme is Mardi Gras, so pass the beads and prepare for a colorful night!
“We are calling it tongue-in-cheek ‘Occupy Mardi Gras.’ We are working to strengthen the voice of the 99 percent. It is in the spirit of the Occupy movement, being regular people who work hard every day,” said Kerry Topel of Oregon PeaceWorks.
Organizers say it is known as the best party in Oregon. The Ty Curtis Band will headline and Dr. Atomic’s Medicine Show will present hilarious political satire in the form of humorous skits and original songs. A silent auction featuring donated items and services will progress throughout the evening. Peaceful mingling begins at 6 p.m. with finger foods and a no-host bar.
Give Peace a Dance originated as a dance-a-thon in the 1980s. Teams of marathon dancers stayed on the floor all night and day for 30 hours to raise money for peace-oriented projects such as the Nuclear Freeze and limiting the military budget.
As Give Peace a Dance has evolved and changed, so has Oregon PeaceWorks.  Today the organization focuses more on developing solutions that build community and create lasting peace, both locally and globally, and somewhat less on stopping negative policies, though it continues to favor major reductions in nuclear weaponry and a far less militarily aggressive foreign policy. According to Executive Director Peter Bergel, “Our organization is working to promote a vision of a world that works for everyone. This vision is brilliantly articulated in a document called the Earth Charter, which you can find on our website at www.oregonpeaceworks.org. Give Peace a Dance is both a fundraiser and part of that vision.”
According to event coordinator Kerry Topel, Give Peace a Dance will be a completely waste-free event at which all refuse is either recycled or composted.
“Coming to the dance will help Oregon PeaceWorks be more efficient with our missions,” said Topel. “ We want more local support to build and broaden our local economy and our local environment. We want to broaden our Earth Charter Initiative; we want to strengthen that. Things like clean air and water lead to clean lives essentially and a higher-quality life.”