Voters for Choice concert held in Washington

Posted 8:18 p.m. Jan. 22

By Jamie Meltzer

(U-WIRE) WASHINGTON – Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C., was filled to capacity Saturday night for “Voters for Choice,” a pro-choice concert.

The concert featured musical appearances by Joe Henry, John Popper, Bruce Hornsby and Ani DiFranco.

Henry, a songwriter for an array of artists including Madonna, opened the show. David Palmer accompanied him on piano, beginning the set with an acoustic rendition of “Don’t Tell Me,” a song made popular by Madonna.

Popper, lead singer of Blues Traveler, performed an all-acoustic set, telling the crowd he had not played solo in a year. “The subjugation of women around the world has been a most tragic tradition passed from parent to child for untold millenniums,” Popper said onstage. “In some small way, there is an opportunity for all of us to begin to heal a wound which has so deeply bled the human soul.”

George Washington University students and D.C. residents packed the 1,500 seat concert hall located just five blocks from the White House.

“John Popper was a big surprise for me,” said Cara Starofielec, a GWU student, after his performance. “I didn’t know he was as talented as he was.”

Following intermission, Hornsby took the stage and captivated the audience with his piano melodies before DiFranco started a five-song set. Known for her powerful poetic lyrics, DiFranco ended her set with a poem about the Sept. 11 tragedy.

Anna Martin, a GWU student said the poem captured elements of the tragedy that have not been publicized. “It’s always interesting to hear her (DiFranco) perspective,” Martin said. “She says stuff other people are scared to say or things you’ve never heard of.”

All the artists emerged for an encore except Hornsby, who was said to be driving home to take care of his twin sons. Henry and Popper sang “No Woman, No Cry” with DiFranco.

Gloria Steinem founded Voters for Choice (VFC) along with members of the Ms. Foundation and Planned Parenthood. The group is the largest independent pro-choice political action committee in the nation. The committee is designed to support pro-choice political candidates through financial contributions, endorsements and campaigning.

RAWA was established in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1977 to educate Afghani women and children and offer them basic daily needs. RAWA persevered through the Taliban regime, which outlawed the group, and continued to endorse human rights in the region.

Concert organizers said the partnership between the two groups was a perfect pair. “There is no democracy without women’s equality. This concert shows that we stand with our Afghan sisters,” said Gloria Steinem, the evening’s organizer.

All ticket sales benefited the Voters for Choice Action Fund and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

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