Last year, a campaign called One Billion Rising shook the world. Literally. One Billion Rising was based on the horrific statistic that one out of every three women in the world will experience violence in her lifetime, which translates into one billion women worldwide. Eve Ensler and her VDay organization responded by putting out the call to have one billion men and women rise up in dance on February 14th, 2013 to demand an end to violence against women and girls. An ambitious number, to be sure, but the response was overwhelming, with over one billion people in 207 countries rising up in song and dance. This unprecedented global event was captured on film, and the resulting short film, Rising, debuted last month at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. I had the honor of being with Eve when it premiered, and that experience will always be one of the most memorable moments of my my life.
While the success of this initiative is to be applauded, and applauded loudly, Eve, VDay, and One Billion Rising already have their sights set on February 14th, 2014, and their new campaign: One Billion Rising For Justice. Tomorrow, women, men, activists, survivors of violence, and the people who love them, will gather in front of places of justice and demand that their stories be heard. Places such as courthouses, police stations, government offices, and embassies will be the sites for the worldwide call for justice for the survivors of violence, and the demand for an end to violence against women and girls. On February 14th, women will release their stories into the world, breaking the silence that all too often surrounds these horrendous crimes, and rise up in the shared goal of making their stories a thing of the past. One Billion Rising For Justice asks that participants use whatever means feels right to them to release their stories into the world, whether it be through song, dance, ritual, spoken word, or art, and the goal of the campaign is to be even bigger and make our voices even louder than last year.
To find a One Billion Rising For Justice event near you, click here, and on February 14th let’s all rise up together. If you cannot join an event, just take a few minutes to stand, to dance, and to channel your thoughts towards a more just and peaceful world. The catastrophic violence in our world has to stop, and we can all do our part to end this epidemic. The biggest thank you goes out to EVE ENSLER, her team at V-Day, and to all who support her work.
Consider also taking a minute to listen to this song that was written to commemorate One Billions Rising – Break the Chain.
(photo from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival – Geralyn Dreyfous, Jacki Zehner, Eve Ensler)