FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ONE BILLION RISING 2021: RISING GARDENS PRESS RELEASE
One Billion Rising Events Take Place Globally, Amplifying the 2021 Rising Gardens Theme and the Connection between Violence Against Women and the Destruction of the Earth
Rising Gardens Activist Events Call for a Shift from Consumption and Greed at the expense of the many, to Cultivation, Creation and Care
Global and Grassroots Reach of Activist Events Expands online, Creating Connection, Community and Solidarity
February 2021 – One Billion Rising activists are calling for RISING GARDENS, a global grassroots call for revival, restoration and transformation, making the connection between violence against women and destruction of the earth. During the pandemic, activists are expanding their reach online as they simultaneously deepen their reach on the ground, community work to meet the needs of the moment. Rising Gardens actions amplify the intersectional issues of women’s inequality and its impact on food insecurity, land ownership and the lack of access to healthcare, as well as the long term effects from extractive industries and the destruction of Mother Earth, and other basic rights, especially for frontline and marginalized communities.
“Gardening centralizes growing and giving, it is not about taking or acquiring. Maintaining a garden is an act of resistance because it does the opposite of what the capitalist machinery does – it connects people and communities with the Earth. To grow one’s own food, to grow beauty and life – is revolutionary in this age of ecological, environmental, societal, spiritual collapse. To put our energies, our creativity, our hearts into everything that can grow and sustain all forms of life when the current world order is bent on destruction is a radical political act. To care for a garden – to nurture it to bloom and grow – deepens our relationship to Mother Earth. Gardens are sacred spaces that engage and awaken our senses, make us believe in wonder, beauty and connection to all living beings. Like theatre, they are a place of play and of transformation – where we can celebrate and contribute to life.”– V (Eve Ensler), playwright, activist and Founder One Billion Rising and V-Day
“Gardens remind us of our enduring connection to life, to each other and to Earth, which compels us to do everything in our power to protect and nurture life and all that is sacred without doing harm. The cultivation of plant life is also a means for survival. Growing food in a garden organically – be it your own indoor garden or a community garden – allows you to feed yourself and your community. It provides autonomy and underscores the need for food security in a world where so many are denied these essential resources.” – Monique Wilson, One Billion Rising Global Director
For eight years, One Billion Rising activists – led by a team of 60 global coordinators – have unleashed vast grassroots, anti-violence locally, regionally and nationally. This visionary work has been survivor-led and focused, all the while revealing the power of art and activism to change culture and systems. This year, the 9th year of One Billion Rising, OBR creative resistance events are taking place now and will continue through 22 April, Earth Day.
Ready to RISE? Join survivors, artists, activists, workers, indigenous communities, and youth in towns, cities, schools, fields and gardens worldwide as together we RISE, garden, resist. Visit OneBillionRising.org
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the destructive ways in which neoliberalism, capitalism, racism, fascism and patriarchy collude, leaving violent and broken systems that continue to push the marginalized further to the edge. The majority of people who are dying are those who have been historically exploited, oppressed, and discriminated against because of race, gender, class, and caste. The sacred connection that Indigenous communities hold with the land has been violated through colonization, broken treaties, and continuous human rights violations. Across the planet, the majority of front line workers, health care workers, home care workers, domestic workers, and farmworkers are women. Like the Earth, they are the least valued and protected.
With increasing isolation and necessary Covid prevention efforts (lockdowns and social distancing), gender-based violence has increased exponentially creating a shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls. Calls to shelter and support hotlines have increased worldwide. In Argentina, for example, between March 20 and 31, calls increased by 39%. In Mexico, emergency calls increased by 50% in the first four months of 2020. And the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported in April that the coronavirus pandemic could double the number of people suffering from acute food insecurity in 2021 to around 265 million globally.
One Billion Rising activists are digging deep, dynamically activating their communities via a range of creative Rising Gardens initiatives and creative resistance events including – seed distribution through seed banks and exchanges in India, Congo, Bangladesh, Philippines, United Kingdom, and Sri Lanka; artistic creations in the forms of zero waste food art in Bangladesh, Rising Gardens film festival across South Asia featuring 47 films from 10 countries, spread across four months, and artistic risings in Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mexico, Italy, Croatia and Austria; the planting of trees to create new community green spaces in Zambia, Myanmar, Tamil Nadu, India, Congo, Singapore, Afghanistan, and Cameroon; the planting of community gardens in India, Portugal, Congo, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cameroon, Eswatini, and Nepal; collaborations with agricultural workers and gardeners in Togo, Guatemala, Singapore, UK, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Pakistan; educational workshops about gardening in Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, South Asia, Kenya, and the UK; and education about herbal medicine and the effects of gardening to boost immunity in the UK, Mozambique, Singapore, Congo, and India, actions to advance women’s rights to land and property in Indonesia, Malawi – among so many other initiatives.
RISING GARDENS LIVE EVENT CALENDAR:
A calendar of live online events is now live. Viewers worldwide can tune in as activists amplify local calls to action, resonating globally.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has required many communities to socially distance, live online events continue to amplify local calls to action. Throughout Africa, OBR activists are partnering with women-farmers organizations and will have an online rising with women farmers from across Africa, including Ewastini, and will continue to have virtual conversations on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa with legislators and activists. In Namibia, activists will host online conversations on the importance of gardening and share knowledge on the best strategies. Namibian activists will invite speakers from different communities and movements to build strategies on preventing gender based violence and promoting healing. OBR South Asia is currently hosting an online film festival, which aims to explore women’s ties to nature, agriculture, and the environment and includes monthly conversations with filmmakers, community media organizations, and women workers featured in the films. In India, activists are hosting webinars to discuss the intersections of the climate crisis and women, of ecological justice and farming. Activists in the United Kingdom are partnering with The Voice of Domestic Workers, and hosting an online event on the 14th of February which will discuss the plight of frontline and essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and domestic workers struggling to get settlement visas.
SHOW THE WORLD WHAT ONE BILLION LOOKS LIKE:
On 14 February and on Earth Day, 22 April, One Billion Rising activists will put out a global call for activists worldwide to post their Rising Gardens images, artwork, statements, essays, calls to action and, video and film content. Statements from community gardens, urban food banks, women’s shelters, migrant workers and indigenous communities, environmental and climate justice campaigns, peace initiatives, and more will amplify the intersectional impact of the exploitation of the environment and the oppression of women.
VOICES OUTREACH ACROSS RISING NETWORKS:
One Billion Rising global coordinators and activists are spreading the word about this exciting new campaign worldwide. VOICES is a new interdisciplinary performance arts project and campaign grounded in Black women’s stories by V-Day to unify the vision of ending violence against women: cis women, trans women, and non-binary people across the African Continent and African Diaspora. It is spearheaded by the poet and organizer Aja Monet, serving as Artistic Creative Director of the project. It is a call to Black women artists to submit their work and for non-Black artists to show their solidarity by spreading the word about VOICES to their networks online and in real life. Visit visforvoices.com.
ARTISTIC UPRISING, DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED:
In the wake of all of these efforts, a major global online event is in production. This Artistic Uprising will showcase the actions, art and stories of Rising Gardens activists everywhere.
To make a garden grow is to love. To keep a community alive is to love. Create and grow gardens. Dance in them.
Raise the Vibration with your hands and bodies.
RISE FOR WOMEN AND MOTHER EARTH
Ready to RISE? Visit onebillionrising.org
Read about the 2021 theme, Rising Gardens
Check out One Billion Rising’s blog for inspiration from global coordinators around the world
MEET the OBR Global Coordinators
FOLLOW OBR on Instagram
VIEW OBR 2021 Artwork from Around the Globe
About One Billion Rising
One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence) in human history. One Billion Rising activists worldwide mobilize, engage, awaken and join people across the planet to end violence against all women and girls. 1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February, we rise – in countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.