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Promdemonium returns

Fundraiser supports local social justice initiatives

Promdemonium is back and bigger than ever in its fifth year.

This year the party fundraiser to support local social justice initiatives is raising money for Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS), Ecology Ottawa’s Campaign to Clean Up Our Rivers, Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites in Ottawa (CSCS), The Tool Shed Zine and Apartment 613’s Heritage Redux Minutes.
 
“I was really jazzed about all the groups,” says Tamara Kalnins, prom fund manager, noting that five groups applied for Promdemonium funding. “The criteria are creative and unique initiatives that benefit community. They should espouse our Prom values like furthering social justice, respecting environment and creativity.”
 
Kalnins says she is hoping to break last year’s fundraising haul of $4,000.
 
“The more tickets we sell, the more money we can raise for these amazing groups,” she says, encouraging people to come out and enjoy a better prom experience than they had at the end of high school. “Dress up, be fancy!”
 
Kalnins is excited to be raising money for FSIS. “They’ve been building relationships in Ottawa for a few years now and in their first year had, like, 50 events.That’s amazing for a local grassroots group,” she says.
 
Kristen Gilchrist, allied member and co-founder of FSIS, says the group was launched in 2010 in response to federal cuts to programs under the Status of Women Canada.
 
“We are using the money from the Prom Fund to support daily operations, bringing families together to speak with MPs, holding rallies and promotions and monthly healing circles,” she says.
 
FSIS helps families of murdered or missing aboriginal women. It also takes part in research, education and policy.
According to Sisters in Spirit and Native Women’s Association of Canada research,  as of March 31, 2010, there were 582 cases of aboriginal women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered.
 
“This has been going on for decades. The rates of violence against aboriginal women surpass all other women’s groups in Canada,” Gilchrist says.
 
Promdemonium will also raise funds for the Campaign for Safer Consumption Sites.
 
“Our objective is to push the issue forward with discussion,” says Caleb Chepesiuk, member of CSCS and a harm-reduction worker with the AIDS Committee of Ottawa. “The Insite program in Vancouver has drastically reduced rates of overdose and relating death.”
Promdemonium is at the National Arts Centre on Saturday, April 21.
 
Tickets range in price from $10 to $25.
 
Event-goers can dance to beats spun by DJs Meera and Yalla Yalla as well as enjoy the kissing wheel, photo booth and slow-dance workshop.
 
“The kissing wheel has reached a level of infamy, and there’s going to be a midnight surprise,” Kalnins adds.
For more information, visit promdemonium.ca/en. Tickets are available at Venus Envy and Octopus Books.