On Thursday, February 14th, many thousands of people all around the world rose up and danced, sang, marched and spoke out to call for an end to violence against women. This global action, called One Billion Rising, had participation from 207 countries throughout Earth. Although the main focus is on ending violence to WOMEN, it goes beyond simply one gender, and extends to violence against children and to all genders of people. Joining in this call were many groups working for peace and justice throughout all continents, races, and sectors of society. One Billion Rising is truly a global event, and it is ongoing. As their founder and spokesperson Eve Ensler wrote, “One Billion Rising brought together coalitions of groups and individuals that have never worked together before and galvanized new supporters and associations and masses of men who were not previously engaged, but now see violence as their issue. It did all of this while putting violence against women to the center of the global discussion. One Billion Rising has broken taboos, lifted the veil of silence, and inspired a radical outpouring of support to reveal the worldwide system of patriarchy, which sustains the violence. One Billion Rising has shown that violence against women is not a national, tribal, ethnic, or religious issue, but a global phenomenon, and that through this worldwide rising and support, survivors can be given the confidence of knowing that violence is not their fault.”
The basic premise behind this global action was to find some friends or a group of people, and come together to dance on February 14th. Tonight I spent over an hour watching Youtube videos of women, men and children dancing to end violence against women. I saw videos of dancers from the following places: Albania, Brazil, Hong Kong, Italy, India, South Africa, Bhutan, Berlin, New Zealand, Hawaii, Lancaster and Oxford, England; The EU parliament in Brussels; and in the United States, dancers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and New York. And this was just the tip of the iceberg, as far as the amount of people who participated.
As I watched one video after the next, I was struck by the utter beauty and power of all the people who were dancing. People from the west, east, north and south, different races and colors and cultures, coming together to rise up and demonstrate that the human spirit is so strong, so much more than we have been led to believe all these long years; that together we are unbelievably strong; when we come together en masse and in love, we cannot be stopped. Humanity coming together like they did last week shows in an undeniable way that Love is stronger than fear, and that when we collectively say No More to insanity, violence, and corruption, we become like an ocean of unstoppable power.
The article on One Billion Rising‘s website continues,
Groups worldwide joined the call to action, including marginalized communities such as migrant workers, domestic workers, urban poor, farm workers, the LGBT community, and the disabled. With tens of thousands of events – from the steps of British Parliament to the streets of Mexico City, from the expanse of the Brooklyn Bridge to living rooms in Iran, One Billion Rising was an epic event spanning the 48-hour period of 14 February across time zones. The campaign received the support of entities from the Dalai Lama to the United Nations, trended on Twitter, and inspired flash mobs across the globe, uniting people in a spectacular and unprecedented way.
There were tens of thousands of events across the world including over 50 events in Turkey alone, over 100 in the UK and Italy respectively, and thousands in both India and the United States. In Manila, activities took place throughout the day from schoolyards to the streets. In India, events ranged from large-scale dance protests to bus drivers stopping the buses for 10 minutes in acknowledgement of the campaign for the safety of women. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, thousands including the Governor of South Kivu and residents of City of Joy danced with V-Day Founder Eve Ensler.
In Mogadishu, Somalia, over 300 men, women and children gathered. The mayor, members of parliament, civil society, and V-Girls were just some of the people who spoke at this historic event, which was followed by a powerful reception hosted by the First Lady. In Tripoli, Libya, activists chose to rise and reclaim the “Siraya castle,” where Gadaffi had made his famous speech during the revolution advising the people and mercenaries to “sing, dance and do as they please,” interpreted as a call to rape women. Throughout Latin America, thousands of activists danced at major monuments and world heritage sites.
All around the world youth rose. Students created art, staged their own risings, and wrote poetry heralding in the new wave of anti-violence activism. Schoolchildren staged flash mobs to the One Billion Rising anthem “Break the Chain” in classrooms and schoolyards, working with teachers, school administrators and their communities.
One Billion Rising is the beginning of the new world ignited by a new energy. It is not the end of a struggle but the escalation of it. NOW is the time to enact change. This is NOT an annual holiday, we are not waiting until 14 February 2014. NOW is the time to harness the power of your activism to change the world!
We celebrate these victories, and we hope you do too. Now ask yourself WHAT CAN I DO IMMEDIATELY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS– and then go out and DO IT!
“One Billion Rising is a joyous recognition of the sacred and how it must never be made profane by any person, institution or government. Violence and oppression of women is the core wound that foreshadows all other problems in the world, from poverty to war to destruction of the environment. Rising is not only a dance, it is the birth of a future.” –Paul Hawken
- Around the World, A ‘Billion Rise’ to Fight Violence Against Women and Girls (commondreams.org)
- What is One Billion Rising? Founder Eve Ensler explains (guardian.co.uk)
- #V-DAY! One Billion Rising (Short Film) (larahentz.wordpress.com)
- One Billion Rising (meejsees.wordpress.com)
- One Billion Rising anti-violence movement features thousands of events around globe on Valentine’s Day (vancouverdesi.com)
- Women of the world unite to oppose violence through One Billion Rising (guardian.co.uk)
- 1 Billion Rising: End to violence against women (ibnlive.in.com)
- 2-14-13 (Two Brief Moments Of) One Billion Rising – New York City (quotidianhudsonriver.com)