A student organization raised $20,000 for Invisible Children Inc. at Peace Jam ’09, a benefit concert featuring bands, dance teams and spoken word artists Saturday in Lisner Auditorium.
Ahimsa, the host of the event, is a student organization that promotes peace and nonviolence through the principles of the Indian religion of Jainism. From the word “Justice” printed across the lead singer of Lucky Dub’s T-shirt to poems like “The Power is in You” by Messiah, the theme of the night was apparent throughout the show.
Invisible Children will use Peace Jam proceeds to provide full college scholarships for youth in Uganda who are former child soldiers or prisoners.
A short movie about Invisible Children played in the middle of the show, depicting Ugandan children in poverty and providing background information on the Lord’s Resistance Army, the group that is causing the “war of madness” in Uganda.
After the movie, emcee Jonathan Walton told the audience that Invisible Children has raised $250,000 in the past three years and built a hospital in Uganda.
“You’re helping with something that’s going, and it can get bigger and bigger,” he said.
Lucky Dub, a reggae band composed of GW students and alumni, opened the show with Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up,” and followed it with original songs “Get a Little Love” and “Justice.”
Penn Masala, a Hindi a cappella group started at the University of Pennsylvania, was an audience favorite. The group performed two acts of mostly pop songs, with one singer beginning in English and another continuing in Hindi. The group finished their last song, an English and Hindi rendition of “Turn Me On” by Kevin Little, complete with dance moves, to a standing ovation.
The meticulously synchronized Charles Flowers High School step team drew murmurs of “That’s so cool” from the audience. Toward the end of their performance, they stopped to put on white gloves and turn on a black light, so that the white glowed in the dark as they stepped.
Walton and his fellow emcee Messiah performed poetry between acts, focused on motivating people to be aware of the world around them and make changes.
The final performer, Cause, took the stage after most of the audience had left. Of half-Ugandan descent and hailing from New York City, Cause opened with his “Letter to Obama” and had nearly the whole audience dancing to his original hip-hop.
Other performers included Vizion, a hip-hop dance group from Howard University, and Family Portrait, a rock band that played as the audience filled into the auditorium.
“Paying $15 for a concert and 100 percent of the proceeds goes to a good cause is always a fun Saturday night activity,” said freshman Amy Brickman.