FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CJ Frogozo, 310-570-2622, cj(at)fitzgibbonmedia.com
One Billion Rising, 917-865-6603, media(at)vday.org
ONE BILLION RISING: Revolution
Activists Called for Radical Shift to End Violence Against Women in Thousands of Global Events in 200 Countries
Massive Youth Risings Took Place Worldwide, Campaign Trended in UK
In Hong Kong, Activists Danced for Justice for Erwiana Last Year. This year, Erwiana Danced
Photos from Global Risings Coming Soon
17 February 2015 – On Saturday, 14 February, One Billion Rising: Revolution activists in more than 200 countries around the world rose to end violence against women and girls, and called for a radical shift in consciousness to end the global epidemic of abuse that one in three women face worldwide. For the third year in a row, women, men and youth took part in the One Billion Rising campaign leading and participating in actions, dance, political and artistic events, and rallies — or Risings — in hundreds of countries on (and around) the date of 14 February. These risings highlight, spark and mobilize artistic and community-driven actions to bring in a new revolutionary world of equality, dignity and freedom for all women and girls.
For 48 hours as 14 February dawned across the world, grassroots activists staged risings and shared their activities, videos and images across social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube. In addition to using the suggested hashtags #1billionrising and #rise4revolution, activists launched the hashtags #whyirise, #VetsRising #SomosRevolución, #UnBillónDePie, #choberises and more. Impact of the campaign was immediately seen in Hong Kong, as Erwiana danced and was at the center of the rising. Last year, domestic and migrant workers rose for Erwiana, but this year, after having received justice in the case against her employer, she danced. Similarly in the UK, which has been rocked by a series of high profile child abuse cases, activists focused their rising at London’s famed Marble Arch on ending child sexual abuse.
One Billion Rising, which launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at seven billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Since 2013, One Billion Rising has put out the call to overhaul, challenge and demand change in a social system that inflicts so many forms of violence and injustices on women. Activists have staged RISING events, bringing the issue front and center, garnering worldwide media attention, changing laws, and demanding justice and an end to the rampant impunity that women survivors of gender based violence face.
“Countries and communities around the world determine how and why are they rising, bringing into their actions local issues and contexts and their own self-determined aspirations of the change they want to see happen as they continue to rise and demand justice. But they also know that they are connected to a huge and diverse global movement that brings global solidarity and allows local issues to be made visible not just within the national spotlight, but also within the international context. Like years before, in many countries around the world the grassroots communities led the campaigns, and opened up a deeper consciousness and understanding of the many forms of violence affecting women,” stated Monique Wilson, Director of One Billion Rising.
“There is so much madness and suffering, so much exploitation and violence, but we are flying in another direction, fueled by our collective decision to end violence and rise for love and revolution. We dance in a new landscape calling up our dreams of a world where women breathe and walk and live freely. Where they are deeply valued, where their bodies are sacred, where the obstacles to them rising are erased. We drum our hearts back so we never again forget our inseparability. May we overthrow all repressive mindsets and usher in the time of love,” stated Eve Ensler, playwright, activist and Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising.
By dancing and rising, local communities shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. Activists DANCE to: show outrage at the alarming statistics of violence and impunity happening worldwide; as a creative means of demanding accountability and justice; and as an energy that also boldly states that we, as an activist community, will no longer condone systemic violence and injustice. Activists RISE to call for a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable. At a meeting in Rome last Spring, One Billion Rising’s global coordinators chose the theme of “Revolution” for 2015 as an escalation of the demand for justice, and to build upon the massive efforts of communities worldwide that also looked at the roots and causes of violence as part of their call for justice. In 2015 we saw millions of activists heed the call and rise for REVOLUTION to change the paradigm and knock down the system so that the healing of our planet and its women can be possible.
The scope and the scale of the activities are vast and yet specific. In the Philippines, activists rose to oust their president. In Miami activist rose to end sex trafficking. In India, they rose for the power of love, not the love of power. Local One Billion Rising activists—including students, women’s, environmental, social justice and peace groups, transgendered, farmworkers, domestic and migrant workers, community groups and mothers rising for their daughters—reflect the expansiveness of violence against women issues that concern them locally, while also demonstrating the power of networking across groups and sectors to leverage the global nature of the campaign.
Some places rose to save their rivers, some their mountains. In the United States, some rose to demand wage increases for restaurant workers who are paid $2.13 and rely on tips to support themselves, which contributes to the fact that sexual harassment is more rampant in the restaurant industry than in any other economic sector in America. Domestic workers rose to end modern day slavery, workers rose for long term jobs and benefits. Women rose outside prisons to demand justice. Pakistan rose for peace. Veterans rose across America for an end the rape in the military. There was a red light rising in Calcutta. Millions rose to end poverty, racism and imperialism. In Zimbabwe they rose with local chiefs to continue the commitment to make ending violence a priority. Men rose everywhere to put their bodies on the line with women. In the Balkans they rose to redress impunity over war crimes committed during the Bosnian war. In Somalia, Sudan and Iran they risked their lives to rise and say that what happens to women’s bodies matters. In Kenya and The Gambia they rose to end the genital cut.
From Mexico to Miami activists rose to end sex trafficking, women bikers rose in Geneva, disabled women rose online, Native American women rose in the Bakken oil fields to end fracking and the direct connection to sex trafficking and abuse. Trans women rose to end the murders and violence they routinely face. There was a rock dance revolution in Vegas and a tango revolution in Italy. In the UK they rose against the grooming of young girls to be sex slaves. Drummers rose for the One Earth, One Heart drum event that began in the morning on the 14th and followed the sun across the planet. Activists rose at the pyramids in Mexico, in malls in Japan, on college squares, in churches, outside corporations, inside city halls.
Risings will continue leading up to and on 8 March, International Women’s Day, owned by communities across the world and driven by grassroots groups. On 21 February, Eve Ensler will give a keynote speech at the Lahore Literary Festival where Eve, OBR director Monique Wilson and OBR South Asia coordinator Kamla Bhasin will participate in a One Billion Rising panel discussion and an artistic event. In Mexico, events are taking place 18 February in Cuajimalpa, 19 February in Chetumal, 28 February in Monterrey, 3 March Auditorio Nacional (International Women Day), and 7 March in Tijuana, with additional events being added. Activists in Guyana, Haiti, and Kenya will hold their events on 8 March, marking International Women’s Day.
Also on 8 March, satellite TV network Link TV is scheduled to air the “State of Female Revolution” panel moderated by GRITtv‘s Laura Flanders and featuring Agnes Pareyio (Kenya), Monique Wilson (Philippines), Zoya (Afghanistan), Christine Schuler Deschryver (Democratic Republic of Congo), Kimberlé Crenshaw and Eve Ensler. The panel is a conversation about what it takes to build revolution, be in solidarity, and affect change.
It is clear that risings will continue for the next months and that this campaign has been owned by communities across the world and driven by grassroots groups.
Highlights from this year’s campaign include:
#rise4justice and #1billionrising taking over social media: campaign related hashtags trended in the United Kingdom on 14 February. Tens of thousands of images, videos, art pieces, and messages of support and defiance spread across our networks on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google Plus.
The One Billion Rising Homepage (www.onebillionrising.org) continues to serve as a one-stop location for the campaign, with updates from grassroots organizers, access to event videos, links to coverage of the campaign and statements from across social media. Events in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Lima, Peru were live streamed online for immediate viewing; others were captured via live tweeting and Instagram.
Vast International coverage of the campaign, thousands of media outlets across the planet covered local events. Coverage included The Guardian, La Reforma, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, GritTV, The Pinoy, Associated Press, The View, The Huffington Post, BBC, and many, many more
Youth RISING: One Billion Rising: Revolution saw young adults, school children, even babies brought to the front of the campaign. Thousands of youth around the world danced to the anthem “Break the Chain” and demanded access to education as a keystone of the revolution. Young women in Mumbai flooded the streets to speak out against street harassment. Mothers and fathers brought their children of all ages to events and danced with them in their arms, hand in hand. In the UK, girls rose to end female genital mutilation (FGM). In Oakland, the Radical Brownies appeared at their Artistic Uprising evening. Girls of all ages danced, sang, expressed the feminine, slammed poetry, and stood in solidarity.
Rise for the Raise, Workers Rising: The intersection of economic security, ending workplace sexual harassment, strong labor laws and the ability for women to thrive was amplified by multiple risings this year. We saw women demanding an end to the exploitative contractualization of labor and unfair working conditions. Restaurant workers and customers who support #1FairWage called on legislators to raise the minimum wage and on CEOs to pay workers a livable wage in the U.S. One Billion Rising joined ROC United to get the word out about a series of actions on this issue. On 13, February, a national action in the United States took place on ROC’s annual day of action.
Artistic Uprisings, DRUMMING: Since it began, One Billion Rising has been about the power of merging activism with art, the synthesis of expression and political action. This year communities used dance, art and drumming to express their joy and their outrage and demands. They used rhythm to protest and to come back into their bodies. They reclaimed healthy sexuality and healthy love. One Billion Rising: Revolution kicked off this year’s events with a one-night-only benefit that brought together a groundbreaking group of performers and artists in NYC on 7 February.
Breaking the Silence: Every year we see the power of releasing stories, releasing pain and trauma, and the healing power of a community coming together to hold the space for testimonials. This year sex trafficking survivors spoke out in defiance of their captors, veterans denounced the continued culture of denial of sexual abuse in our military, and survivors shared their My Revolution stories online.
Men Rising: This year, men led and organized groundbreaking, revolutionary initiatives, serving as an inspiration for other men around the world to be part of the radical shift in consciousness in how women and girls are treated and seen on the community and global level.
Escalating the numbers, expanding risings within countries: In many countries there was an escalation within. More than 240 risings took place this year in The Philippines, 130 in Italy (with 5 in Rome alone), and more than 132 in Germany.
To read global highlights and updates from the One Billion Rising global coordinators, visit onebillionrising.org/2015reports.
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ONE BILLION RISING: REVOLUTION is an energy, a platform, a global movement, a catalyst, a worldwide decision to end violence against women, a demand for justice, a paradigm shift, an invitation, a gathering of the ready, housed everywhere, housed in our hearts, you, us, REVOLUTION.
One Billion Rising is a global initiative to raise awareness of—and end—violence against women. 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime, adding up to more than one billion women and girls.