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I have gone twice.  My wife and I went to the Southern States Ball in 1993.  Four years ago I was technically one of the hosts of the Bloggers Ball (which was a ton of fun).

Given that Virginia will be ground zero politically for our gubernatorial race in 2013, it is tempting to go to the Virginia Ball, which is actually less than a 1 mile walk from my home.

But instead I am taking the money I would spend on that and donating it to specific non-profits whose work I think is very important this time.

Please continue below the fold to see my list and my reasons.

The Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence  - after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, this became a mandatory donation for me, to the organization that has done more to stop gun violence in our still too violent nation.

The Center for Constitutional Rights -  CCR has been at the forefront in advocating for rights for those most at risk, starting with those illegally and immorally imprisoned at Gitmo.  They have filed lawsuits against US Government agencies with a record of violating rights, for example, the CIA.

Mission of Mercy of the Virginia Dental Association Foundation - they are the sponsors of the free dental clinics at which I regularly volunteer in the Appalachian part of Virginia

The Fellowship of Reconciliation - an international organization that works across denominational divides to advance Peace, Justice and Non-Violence.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.  Many became aware of them for the work they did on issues of voter rights this last cycle.

Teaching for Change  Based in DC, this group works to build social justice starting in the Classroom.  They are also very much involved in the Zinn Education Project.

There are many other organizations I could pick.

General Admission Tickets to the ball are $250.  Thus for Leaves on the Current and I to attend would cost $500, not including any transportation or parking or our drinks.

That's $500.  I am adding another $100 for a total of $600, equally divided among the 6 organizations above.

This is how I choose to celebrate the inauguration, by doing what I can to ensure that worthy organizations continue to advance things that matter to me, the things that are among the reasons I work actively for the most progressive Democrats I can help get elected.

This is who I am.

How I spend my money should represent my values.

Peace.

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