A district court judge recently upheld a lower court ruling that dancing at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC is illegal. I take particular interest in this because I was the organizer of the original Thomas Jefferson Dance Party where Brooke Oberwetter aka the Jefferson 1, was arrested. We didn’t intend for the event to be an act of civil disobedience, but just a fun and silent tribute to the ideas of Thomas Jefferson (except the idea that it’s ok to bang slaves). However, as a result of the recent court ruling, disobedient dancers will gather at the monument on Saturday, May 28th at noon, prepared to defy the judge’s ruling.
Here is my appearance on NBC4 after the arrest at the Jefferson Memorial:
Edward Freeman, the organizer of the second Thomas Jefferson Dance Party, called into FTL on Tuesday to reveal that he is prepared to go to jail for dancing at the memorial. Here is the press release he and other organizers have sent to media:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Silent Dance Party at the Jefferson Memorial
Washington, DC – Spontaneous silent dancing will be erupting at the Jefferson Memorial this Saturday, May 28 at 12 PM.
This is inspired by US District Judge John D. Banks’s recently ruling (see attached) that the interior of the Memorial is not a public forum where people may dance; even silently. The ruling stems from the arrest of a woman, Mary Oberwetter, in 2008 for silently dancing as part of a group in celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday.
In response to this abridgement of our 1st Amendment rights, concerned Americans have launched a Facebook page- currently experiencing a daily doubling in followers- calling for everyone to join us in silently dancing inside the Jefferson Memorial in a spirit of freedom and civil disobedience. Those engaging in this activity realize they could be arrested and are willing to be so for defending this cause.
Other local and national media outlets have picked up on the excitement and plan to cover the event. Thank you and hope to see you there!
cell: (202) 717-0358
For live updates, follow TJDanceParty on Twitter. Here’s the event on Facebook: