THE LAST FOUR YEARS:
The One Billion Rising movement and the local Rising campaigns first began in 2013, with the fierce struggle against sexual and physical violence – taking on the advocacy against rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex trafficking that V-Day campaigns over 18 years have been at the forefront of. But over the last four years, as One Billion Rising has grown and the local campaigns deepened, it has also brought in economic, racial and, gender violence, violence caused by corruption, occupation and aggression, violence caused by lack of economic opportunities, by environmental disasters, climate change and environmental plunder, violence created by capitalist greed, among so many other forms of violence that affect women.
ONE BILLION RISING 2016: RISE FOR REVOLUTION – AN ESCALATION
One Billion Rising 2016 – an escalated call for Revolution focusing on the most marginalized sectors – was a worldwide action that saw over 200 countries rising up creatively and politically to urgently demand an end to the violence being perpetuated on women and children, and to demand an end to the global impunity that sustains the culture of violence.
What began as a worldwide creative dance protest – has now also emerged as a collective defiance using art as a powerful political tool for resistance and protest, as well as a colorful, diverse and highly creative and artistic celebration of local and global solidarity. All over the world, people danced with rage against all forms of violence – not only sexual and gender violence, but also the violence of poverty, inequality, exploitation and marginalization. And they also danced with hope in their fierce and unwavering insistence on a future where freedom, equality and dignity is possible. What began to surface in the last few years of One Billion Rising but what has been much more in focus this year, are not just the effects of patriarchal structures, but also the international capitalist and imperialist systems that cause and perpetuate poverty, unprecedented forms of labor, economic and sexual exploitation, human and sex trafficking, state sponsored wars, militarization and internal and international displacement – that render women and children some of the most vulnerable. Activists around the world have highlighted where these systems support each other in the continuing oppression of the most marginalized sectors – that include women, children, indigenous communities, migrants, workers, youth, peasants and LGBTQGNC – an oppression that cuts across gender, race, class, culture, religion and caste.
Last month, One Billion Rising global coordinators from around the world gathered in Croatia to assess the 2016 campaign, and to envision One Billion Rising 2017.
Attending the summit were global coordinators representing over 35 countries, along with members of the V-team. Joining Eve Ensler (V-Day and One Billion Rising Founder), Monique Wilson (One Billion Rising Global Director/ Philippines), and Susan Celia Swan (V-Day Executive Director), were Christine Schuler Deschryver (V-Day Congo Director/ City of Joy Director), Tanya Anastasiadis (United Kingdom), Abha Bhaiya from Jagori Grameen and Sangat (India), Kamla Bhasin from Sangat South Asia (India/ South Asia regional coordinator), Nicoletta Billi (Italy), Rada Boric from Centre for Women’s Studies (Croatia/ Eastern Europe & The Balkans regional coordinator), Chi Hui-Jung and Lori Chen from Garden of Hope (Taiwan), Colani Hlatjwako from Women and Law in Southern Africa (Swaziland), Khushi Kabir from Nijera Kori (Bangladesh), Marsha Lopez Calderon (Guatemala/ Central and South America regional coordinator), Marya Meyer (Miami), Jessica Montoya (Santa Fe, New Mexico), Andres Naime (Mexico), Joan Salvador from GABRIELA (Philippines), Nyasha Sengayi from Source International Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe), Colleen Carroll (V-Day Associate Director of Communications and Social Media), Shael Norris (V-Day Director for College and Community Campaigns), and Katherine McFate (V-Day Board Member).
Global Overview of ONE BILLION RISING 2016:
As shared by the global coordinators – leading up to February 14, 2016 – and ongoing until March 8th International Women’s Day and beyond – activists around the world held Rising events that called everyone to Rise For Revolution and to dance in defiance. They called all sectors, in all countries, to hold their institutions of authority and justice accountable to ending the culture of impunity and violence – including the media, schools, local and national governments, churches, and international bodies such as the UN. Their call towards oppressive sectors that make possible the systemic sustaining of violence was louder and bigger this year – calling into wider public attention institutional and state violence. Global activists danced with determination and rage against both local issues as well as the intersecting international structures that sustain systematic oppression. Around the world, the call for Revolution was a resounding demand for justice and for system change.
COLLECTIVE HIGHLIGHTS OF GLOBAL CAMPAIGNS:
The OBR team and global coordinators also discussed the following themes and focus points as part of the meeting:
CONTINUING WITH THE RISE FOR REVOLUTION CALL:
So much of the violence towards women and girls we are seeing today has at its root – deep seated discrimination, exploitation, marginalization and oppression – in all structural forms – sexual, economic, political, social, cultural. The cry from global activists around the world as shared by OBR global coordinators and organizers – from the streets to the Houses of Congress, from schools to theatres, from indigenous communities to factories, from social media to films, from urban poor communities to city squares with people from all walks of life – is the removal and transformation of an unjust social system that not only allows, but encourages physical, economic, social, mental and emotional violence.
ART AS CREATIVE RESISTANCE:
When people danced around the world, and when they Rose for revolution using art as a powerful form of creative resistance – it is the world dancing and demanding defiantly to hold governments, institutions of authority and power, and other perpetrators accountable for their actions. It is collective artistic action that incites, and mobilizes, arouses, awakens and inspires people to come together in unity as both a local and global community. It is the creative “people power” force that will transform our present global structure characterized by patriarchy and capitalist greed into a world free from exploitation, discrimination and oppression.
As they envisioned 2017 plans, global coordinators concluded at the meeting that the One Billion Rising global dance of global connection and solidarity is both a disruption and a commitment to do everything in our power to keep building a world of equality, freedom, peace and dignity – and a world free of violence.
Preparations are now underway for the launch of One Billion Rising 2017:
ONE BILLION RISING REVOLUTION
SOLIDARITY AGAINST EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN
RISE. DISRUPT. CONNECT
The Revolution continues…………
“So we must learn the art and practice of disruption. We must release the tentacles of our false securities and interrupt the world as we know it. We must assume that anywhere we live or anything we are doing can change or disintegrate on a dime and we must practice changing and letting it go. Living as if there is no future but the one we are creating. Nothing guaranteed but our willingness to live as pioneers of a new consciousness and way. And we must become disrupters. That is the power of creative resistance. Interrupting business as usual, taking stands that forfeit our acceptance or economic elevation, risking disapproval and controversy, participating in actions that loosen our grip on the suicidal givens and push the tyrants to fall. Disrupters, fighting and dancing with all our might for life over comfort.”
– Eve Ensler (V-Day and OBR Founder and Artistic Director)