Tonight, Bernie’s is hosting a dance party to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The event was originally called the Cowboys and Indians Dance Night, with prizes to be awarded for best costumes.
The party’s theme stoked controversy on the Facebook event page, with some commenters finding the suggestion to dress in Indian costumes to be offensive. That prompted a reaction from Jeff Peterson, a staff member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, who posted executive director Anne Gillingham’s response to the event.
The name of the event has since been changed to Wild West Dance Night, with an apology posted by the event’s organizer stating that it was never intended that the theme be offensive.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s response, along with many other comments, have since been removed. Below is the statement along with a couple screen shots.
This morning it has come to the attention of the staff at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Washington / Alaska that a Team in Training participant's fundraising event entitled "Cowboys & Indians" is taking place in Anchorage tonight. We do not endorse the caricature of any racial or ethnic group for any reason and are attempting to reach the organizer to ask that the theme be changed.
This event is being held for a good cause, which is to fund blood cancer research that will benefit patients of all ages, genders, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. However, we ask that anyone planning to attend this event please respect out country's diverse cultures by refraining from dressing in anything "Indian".
Wild West Dance Night featuring Alex the Lion is 9 p.m. tonight, $5 (21 and older). Proceeds benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.