Liberty Live, a fundraising event organized by Hofstra Concerts in efforts to raise money for Planned Parenthood, was held on Saturday, April 15, in memory of Gabrielle (Gabby) Perry, class of 2016, who passed away on Feb. 21, 2017, in a car crash on Route 28 in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Perry was 22 when the crash took her life; the driver of the vehicle she was in was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Originally from Leesburg, Virginia, the alumna was a double major in religion and English, but one of her most notable impacts on Hofstra’s campus was with Hofstra Concerts and Student Advocates of Safer Sex (SASS).
The concert – which featured Hofstra-based talent, from bands to individuals – went from noon until 8 p.m. and brought together these clubs and others to raise money for an organization Perry supported: Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.
“We decided to do this event for Gabby because it was something she was really passionate about. She was very passionate about social issues such as Planned Parenthood and women’s rights issues, so we wanted to honor her in that way by also going after her other big passion which was music,” Salvatore Gaurdino, a senior television major from Hofstra Concerts said.
“We thought we could do something for a really good cause that would’ve meant something to her and also put on a really good concert.”
The concert was originally planned as another event for Hofstra Concerts, but following Perry’s death, it was organized so that seven musical acts and over 20 participating organizations or clubs would raise money for Planned Parenthood and celebrate the life of Perry.
Jeremy Sporn, a senior film major and the president of Hofstra Concerts said, “In the end of February, I got some bad news that my friend had passed away. She was one of our executive board members for two years. And I thought – all of this work that we’ve been putting into this event needs to be some type of memorial fundraiser show. So I decided – let’s do this for her. Let’s get as much involvement as we can.”
Another organizer of the event, Gavin Hawkins, a junior business economics major said, “You can tell the impact she had on people by how willing they were to get involved and the impact she’s had on this campus is incredible. Every single person who is a part of this is passionate and it’s wonderful because we have her family here and we have all these clubs here to help raise money for a cause she really cared about: Planned Parenthood.”
During the event, concert goers were able to make a donation and participate in games sponsored by the organizations involved. The event brought out many of Perry’s friends as they commemorated and remembered her life on campus.
Guardino commented on how Perry helped him get involved at Hofstra. “I was a transfer student and I didn’t really know anybody and I came to Hofstra Concerts and they had an open [executive board] slot … I ran and I got the position and became her co-chair for advertising for a year.”
He continued, “She was a face that could just light up any room and I think that’s why you have so many people out here who really want to show they cared for her because she really was one of the nicest human beings you’ll ever meet.”
The event raised approximately $1,800 for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County and highlighted the importance of Perry’s life – a life that the Hofstra community felt needed to be shared, remembered and celebrated.