Dance for Our Lives, mixing music and politics to fight gun violence

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Dance for Our Lives

CSPS Hall, Cedar Rapids — Saturday, July 20, 7-9 p.m.

Adrian Lumi/Unsplash

In the past year, the young activists of March for Our Lives Iowa have staged a die-in, taken part in marches, lobbied lawmakers and stayed active on social media in an attempt on keep people’s attention focused on gun violence and the need for political action to address the problem. On Saturday, they are trying something new: a dance.

“We wanted to have something fun to bring awareness to something that is so bad,” Olivia Kennedy, the board secretary of March for Our Lives Iowa, told Little Village.

The two-hour Dance for Our Lives will be start at 7 p.m. at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids. The event is free, but space is limited, so organizers are asking people to register for tickets online.

March for Our Lives Iowa was founded last year by Cedar Rapids-area high school students. Kennedy, one of the founders, graduated from Washington High School in May.

Dance of Our Lives will represent a different kind of political event, Kennedy assured.

“We want to make sure people stay engaged in politics, and politics is everywhere in Iowa right now, but most of it is very traditional and aimed at older people,” Kennedy said. “This is an event for young people, put on by young people.”

Several 2020 candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination — including Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang — have sent videos that will be played during breaks in the music, and campaign workers will be available to answer questions.

Democrat Rob Hogg, who represents Cedar Rapids in the Iowa Senate, and Amber Gustafson, the former Iowa director for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, will speak briefly.

Isaac Jacobo, a Washington High student who deejays under the name “Feel More,” will be in charge of music.

“People’s attention on gun violence can dwindle — I hate to say this — between mass shootings,” Kennedy said. “So, we’re doing everything we can to keep young people involved, and with events like this, we’re hoping to get them engaged with politics. Because this year, they have a unique opportunity to push candidates for change, while they are in Iowa.”

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