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WOODSTOCK, N.Y. -- Volunteers, artists, and community members came together for "All Love, All Woodstock" on the evening of June 25. The event was a benefit for Constance McMillen and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
"All Love, All Woodstock" was the brainchild of Woodstock resident Abbe Aronson but was put together with a volunteer committee of parents, school board trustees, local business owners and several other individuals. The community-wide effort was meant to show the world that even if prejudice exists in small towns elsewhere, Woodstock will continue to show the way to love, compassion and tolerance.
The event celebrated Constance McMillen for standing up for her rights by refusing to be silenced or shamed. Additionally, they saluted the ACLU for their hard work on behalf of everyone's right to respect and acceptance.
Billed as "A Night of Peace, Love, Music ... and Tolerance," the event took its slogan from the original 1969 Woodstock Festival (with the blessing of Festival creator and community member Michael Lang). It was held The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock.
Theater co-owner and Woodstock native Peter Cantine immediately volunteered the theater for "All Love, All Woodstock" once he heard the benefit was for an ACLU-backed cause.
“The ACLU is very close to my heart," he said. "I, too, was discriminated against by my school district, and I, too, with ACLU backing, sued the district and won. In my case it was for being kicked off the football team because of the length of my hair.”
"All Love, All Woodstock" featured cocktails and hors d'oeuvres from many of the area's fine restaurants. There was also a high-end live auction conducted by celebrity auctioneer Barry Cherwin. Among the auction items there was a "NYC Foodie Lover's Day on the Town" worth nearly $10,000, a Herman Miller Aeron Chair, and signed celebrity swag and memorabilia.
The party kicked into high gear with DJs spinning late into the night and an array of musical talent including Hudson Valley luminaries, internationally known artists and a surprise video guest appearance by Lady Gaga.
In the surprise video message below Lady Gaga had warms words for Constance McMillen, stating she had been touched by her story.
According to the event’s Facebook page, over $30,000 were raised for Constance McMillen's education fund, the ACLU LGBT and AIDS Project and the Onteora Central School District's Gay Straight Alliance.