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Photo by Mary Dorn
Photo by Mary Dorn
"Party to Protect Our Lives" raised more than $7,000 for Moms Demand Action.

Earlier this month, more than 200 people partied in the name of gun reform in Gowanus, raising more than $7,000 for Moms Demand Action.

On Saturday, June 16, Littlefield, 635 Sackett Street, played host to a very special “Party to Protect Our Lives,” a multi-faceted benefit concert which included on-site flash tattoos, live musical, comedic and burlesque performances and raffles.

“Party to Protect” – a grassroots organization founded by now-California-based Sarah Hanson whose mission is to party to raise money for positive causes that need promotion and protection – has raised thousands of dollars for organizations like Planned Parenthood and Earthjustice, an environmental conservation organization based in San Francisco.

Now it adds Moms Demand Action, a division of Everytown for Gun Safety, to its list of beneficiaries.

“We had such great performers, great tattoo artists, great drink specials, a great venue, great raffle prizes, so I knew people would show up. However, I couldn’t have dreamed how passionately committed to the cause the whole crowd was,” said Sunset Park resident Bobby Hankinson, a local entertainer who took the reins from an out-of-town Hanson, and along with a team of friends, helped organized the group’s third “Party.”

“When Tia Christensen, a survivor of the Las Vegas massacre, addressed the crowd, you could hear a pin drop; that’s how captivated the audience was,” he said. “These people weren’t just there for a good time — though, they definitely got one — they were there because they believe in this cause.”

The issue of gun violence, Hankinson told this paper previously, is one that knows no bounds. “It affects people of color, it’s a huge women’s issue, a huge LGBT issue and things like suicide, mental health, all of these things go hand in hand with gun violence,” Hankinson said. “It seems like such a common sense issue and it’s just so frustrating that nothing’s been done by now.”

Others in the room shared in his frustration – as did the party’s performers.

“Not only [did these performers] donate their time and talent to this but also are so dedicated to the cause,” Hankinson said.

Among them were FIELDED, Crazy Pills, Elliot & the Ghost, and Alexander F. The evening’s emcees were comedians Marie Faustin and Sydnee Washington.

There to tattoo from a sheet of cause-centric flash ink were artists Adam Korothy and Miykey. Organizers and attendees alike were seen sporting fresh ink (available at $40 a pop), proceeds from which went straight to the cause.

Raffle prizes included VIP passes to Panorama Music Festival, one month of free yoga courtesy of New Love City and passes to Alamo Drafthouse, among others.

Guests also drank for the cause. Thanks to liquor sponsors Snow Leopard Vodka and Noble Oak Bourbon, appropriately named cocktails like the “Calls-mo-politicians” and the  “2nd Amend-Mint Repeel” were sold for $8 a piece with $2 going to Moms Demand Action.

“It’s our hope now that they take that energy from the party and keep it going toward ending this terrible epidemic of gun violence that has already taken far too many from us,” Hankinson said.

Founded in 2012, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to demand action from state and federal legislators, companies and educational institutions across the country to establish gun reforms. It quickly flourished into a leading force for gun violence prevention, with chapters in all 50 states and a powerful grassroots network of moms that has successfully effected change at the local, state and national level.

“Party to Protect” is still taking donations. To give, visit https://support.momsdemandaction.org/fundraiser/1476205.

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