UVA’s Rita Dove Speaks at The Peace Ball in Washington January 20

January 24, 2013

Rita Dove was one of numerous luminaries to briefly speak at The Peace Ball on January 20, 2013, one of Washington, DC’s more creative big parties over the weekend to celebrate the presidential inauguration. The Peace Ball: Voices of Hope and Resistance took place in Washington DC’s historic Arena Stage at The Meade Center For American Theater.  This event paid tribute to the continuing struggle for peace and justice here in the United States and throughout the world.  After a few initial comments, Dove entertained the large crowd by reading two of her poems particularly well suited to the event, “Umoja” and “Lady Freedom Among Us.” (Watch the reading here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiYenuchOAg

Joining Dove, other artists, activists, speakers and organizations participating in the evening’s comments, musical entertainment, dancing, and other festivities were: Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!), noted journalist Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation), TransAfrica, The National Council of Negro Women, Institute for Policy Studies, The Pacifica Foundation, Progressive Democrats of America, Julian Bond, Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, Dick Gregory, Marian Wright Edelman, Farai Chideya, Ralph Nader, Van Jones, Dave Zirin, Etan Thomas, Barbara Ehrenreich, Medea Benjamin (Code Pink), Danny Glover, Rev. Lennox Yearwood (Hip Hop Caucus), and Zainab Salbi (Women for Women International), among many others. Musical performances were by Mos Def and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Four years ago hundreds of peace loving activists gathered at the first Inaugural Peace Ball in Washington, DC to celebrate the election of the first African American President of the United States and to wave the banner of peace during that historic moment.  The times are different today, but the commitment to ensure that peace and justice remain on our national agenda has not wavered.

Rita Dove is a former U.S. Poet Laureate and currently Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia where she teaches poetry writing.