Music is known for its unwavering and unconditional ability to bring people together. This was especially true on Feb. 14 at The Haunt, where Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes held its annual benefit concert. The event was unique in the powerful performances it featured: Ithaca College student musicians like Abby Sullivan, Kyra Skye and the band Quail, as well as local acts like Jonah Hirst, Lady Borderhop and Vee Da Bee.
This fundraiser is held every year to raise money for Planned Parenthood, and this event in particular was special in the fact that it raised over $1,000 more than it did last year. The organization is a vital part of the Ithaca community, and it has faced resentment and many challenges in the past few years. President Donald Trump’s administration has threatened to block Planned Parenthood’s funding, and anti-abortion advocates have pushed to defund Planned Parenthood and reverse Roe v. Wade.
At a political moment in which many seem to have their agendas set on bringing down the organization, the sentiment was quite the opposite at The Haunt on Feb. 14. Many of the bands and performers claimed to have connections to the organization and were proud that so many people came out to support their music and the organization.
This concert was also a powerful means of fundraising because of its efforts in furthering inclusivity. Hirst, member of Assigned Female at Birth 4, a local all-transmasculine a cappella group, performed. The event was packed with female power — emceed by Kyra Skye and Mickie Quinn, as well as female performers featured in almost every act.
When Hirst got onstage, he began with how important Planned Parenthood has been to him and his personal journey. This event was highly attended, and it speaks volumes about how important Planned Parenthood is to members of the Ithaca community. The event offered a way for individuals to bring together social justice matters and music under one roof.
This is what fundraising should focus on: creating a bond between people through a shared experience. While the actual money being raised is the purpose, people tend to be more dedicated and invested in missions they can see themselves in and root for as a result. The Planned Parenthood Benefit Show showed that people want to support an organization of people doing imperative and impactful work for the community if passionate community members create the opportunity.