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State of Female Justice Event Series Continues 6 February at UCLA

JANUARY 23, 2014 – V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, today began the countdown to One Billion Rising for Justice that will take place on February 14th, 2014 in more than 169 countries worldwide.

The campaign will build upon the energy and momentum that was created on February 14, 2013 when one billion activists in 207 countries and territories came together to rise, strike, and dance, in the biggest mass action in human history, to demand an end to violence against women and girls.  Tens of thousands of events took place on the ground and the campaign took over media and social media worldwide for 48 hours, trending in 7 countries – 4 times in the US and UK alone. Media in all corners of world including The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, Reuters, Times of India, Corriere della Sera and many more covered the hugely successful grassroots campaign widely.

As a result, laws were drafted and passed, women were empowered in places of disempowerment and grassroots networks of women sprung up worldwide.  Marsha Lopez, a V-Day activist since 2001, stated, “the most important result of One Billion Rising in Guatemala was the creation of a law for the criminalization of perpetrators who impregnate girls under 14 years old. The law also includes penalties for forced marriage of girls under 18.”

This year, we will focus on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence, and ending the rampant impunity that prevails globally. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a call to women, men, and youth around the world to gather safely on 14 February 2014 outside places where they are entitled to justice – court houses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not.

The campaign is a recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces.

The call to RISE for Justice has received resounding response from activists in over 169 countries on six continents, including the newest additions Albania, Benin, Bolivia, Georgia, Jamaica, Lesotho, Luxembourg and Slovenia

The 2014 One Billion Rising events kicked off with the world premiere of a new short film entitled ONE BILLION RISING at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on 19 January. The short film, directed by Eve and Tony Stroebel and shot by amateur and professional cinematographers, features footage from activists in 207 countries and showcases the radical awakening of body and consciousness that took place in 2013. In celebration of the Sundance screening and to continue building momentum to One Billion Rising for Justice 2014, V-Day released the short film online with activists holding viewing parties worldwide. The film already won its first recognition and an award from the nonprofit Women in Film.

The King Center presented One Billion Rising with the 2014 Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award on 18 January. The annual award is given in honor of and in keeping with the spirit of Coretta Scott King. It recognizes a youth or young adult, and a youth organization/initiative which exemplifies exceptional leadership in the areas of peace, social justice and nonviolent social change. One Billion Rising is honored to join Sughar Founder & Director Ms. Khalida Brohi in accepting the 2014 A.N.G.E.L. Award. V-Day Founder/Artistic Director Eve Ensler accepted the award on behalf of the campaign.

The campaign has received widespread coverage in global media. Interviews with Eve and Monique Wilson have appeared on CNN International; BBC Newshour, Worlds News and HardTalk; in The Times of India, Agence France Presse, Buzzfeed, Guernica, ORIGIN magazine among many more.

Early this month, Eve penned her most recent commentary for The Guardian newspaper stating, “This year we are escalating and deepening the campaign with One Billion Rising for Justice. Justice is about restoring the primacy of connection so that we understand that violence against women is not a personal problem, but connected to other systemic injustices whether they be patriarchal, economic, racial, gender, or environmental…this year we will go further, releasing, dancing, putting our bodies on the line with specific demands and visions that through our numbers, solidarity and energy cannot be denied. Come rise with us.” Upcoming media appearances are scheduled on Democracy Now, All In With Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris Perry, and many more.

Continuing to highlight the power of art to convey messages and uplift and inspire, the campaign produced its first animated film “And Then We Were Jumping.”  Created by artist Jordan Bruner based on a poem written by Eve Ensler, the film is going viral and has already been highlighted by both Upworthy and Vimeo. The film and poem highlight the theme of the campaign that ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is about envisioning justice for all survivors of gender violence which can take many forms, it can be an apology or reparations, taking legal action. It can be about making the truth visible. It can be about transformation. Activists are invited to share their personal vision of “this is what justice looks like” online as video, text, or photo.

Back by popular demand, “Break the Chain” will remain the official anthem of One Billion Rising. Written and produced by legendary music dynamo Tena Clark, and choreographed by dance ICON and award winning choreographer Debbie Allen the song is played in stores and Zumba classes across the US. In Mexico and Peru well-known artists have performed the song in Spanish. Other countries are developing their own localized songs and dances to be performed for 2014.

Eve and One Billion Rising Director Monique Wilson have taken the One Billion Rising For Justice message on tour to Bali, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In city after city, the response is the same. The OBR4J campaign has provided an opportunity to escalate grassroots efforts and give visibility to the issue as well as reach out to newer constituencies. Reaching out to young men has been a very positive outcome of this campaign. Everywhere Eve’s presence, deliberations and performances have received thundering success with a very large number of audiences for each and every event. In Delhi, India, Eve premiered and performed her new monologue IN THE BODY OF JUSTICE. Upcoming visits include Washington DC for a pre-Rising reception with Members of Congress and a focus on the International Violence Against Women Act.

In addition, The State of Female Justice panels have taken place in New York and Santa Fe in the US; Manila, Philippines; Delhi, India, Johannesburg, South Africa and London. Speakers from the incarceration movement, from the indigenous community, the youth sector, the migrant and immigrant community, and leading activists from an economic and environmental justice context have discussed the intersectional issues that are at the core of violence against women. Panel discussions continue with an event in Los Angeles on February 6 at UCLA.

Risings Around the World
As momentum is building globally, communities come together, building coalitions, through media outreach and grassroots organizing.  Some examples of risings:

In the Caribbean a lack of support and issues about laws being changed are foremost in their work for seeing justice met across many of the islands.  OBR4J is providing a platform in which St. Lucia will be working on creating a bill that will go to Parliament on the Sexual Abuse Act, which they currently do not have. Activists in Trinidad are looking at sexual harassment within the University.  Guyana has many women dying and disappearing and efforts are being made to create a Missing Person’s Act that can help families with their cases.  In Haiti, activists have created Top 20 Actions to Rise for Justice and Fight Sexual Violence in Haiti that include: supporting the introduction in Haiti’s Parliament of a bill to outlaw domestic violence and spousal rape; mandating a course in sexual violence for all judges, judicial and protection officers and police overseeing prosecution of sex crimes; and improving monitoring and reporting of sexual violence in both private foster homes, orphanages and child “restavek” live at home domestic employment situation.

In Mexico City, a team of three lawyers have begun working on cases that have since come forward through raising awareness of violence against women during One Billion Rising 2013 – one for human trafficking, one for incarcerated women for petty crimes, and one that is revising all the cases that have been submitted through their Facebook page.

In Peru, DEMUS, a local organization that has been fighting for years for justice for the hundreds of thousands of indigenous women who were sterilized during the Fujimori regime and for the tens of thousands of women who were raped during the armed conflict, produced a very intense, powerful mock trial – the Court of Conscience For Justice. It was a call to the State to fulfill their obligation to provide justice and reparation to the women.

Women’s groups all over Southeast and South Asia protested the recent WTO conference held in Bali Indonesia, where OBR Southeast and South Asia had a huge presence in the global peace camp, representing the Philippines, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand in the call for developmental, economic, and environmental justice for women in the global south – as well as a call to end militarization and foreign intervention in the Asia Pacific region.

In Taiwan, “women/child-friendly justice” is their theme, emphasizing the environment of the legal system and court, educating those in the justice system to understand more about gender violence and treat victims of gender violence with dignity. They launched the first press conference of ‘One Billion Rising for Justice- Stories of Women/girl Friendly Justice ” and invited prosecutors, lawyers, women organization activists, social workers to share positive stories of judicial officers (judges, prosecutors, lawyers) who use their power wisely to empower women in the lawsuit process.  The story sharing not only broadened the images of women/girl-friendly justice, but also created understanding and communication between the government and NGOs.

In the Philippines, groups are creating a multi-sector task force to organize events outside embassies, courthouses, mines (led by the indigenous women), corporations, government institutions and universities. On the morning of February 14, a large protest, march and rally to will take place outside the presidential palace, and in the afternoon, there will be a parade, an One Billion Rising fair and a concert on the grounds of the University of the Philippines. The events highlight, in drama, dance and costume, the long history of the women’s movement in the Philippines and their fight for justice

In Southern Africa, from Swaziland to Zimbabwe, from Lesotho to Malawi and South Africa One Billion Rising For Justice has reenergized the women’s movement, mobilizing women in rural communities, those living with disabilities and youth to hold story circles, dance and sing, build photographic exhibits and poetry anthologies.  The collaboration of activists in rural and marginalized areas with those in urban areas, farmworkers uniting with mine workers and domestic workers, lawyers with physician groups, artists with teachers unions and municipalities, university students with grassroots community organizers, township dwellers with suburbanites, commercial sex worker groups with safe houses will bring about risings that will demand justice for women, hold perpetrators accountable and call for an end to impunity across the region.

In South Africa, Germany and South America, “This is What Justice Looks Like” art exhibitions are bringing communities together with photography, paintings, speeches and dance.

In India, every state is planning an event with flash mobs, dances, speeches and other public displays calling for an end to violence against women. All across the country, groups are creating posters, banners and t-shirts in different languages to rise for justice, and the events fall on the heels of a 3-day One Billion Rising for Justice campaign that focused on land, environmental and economic injustices.

In Germany, activists across the country are preparing RISING events with dance flash mobs, marches, V-Day performances and other forms of creative actions. They are writing songs, poems and blog articles. In Berlin, due to the expected huge crowd, the street behind the landmark Brandenburg Gate will be blocked for the RISING. In many cities, mayors and other senior politicians and celebrities have confirmed their support and participation in the RISINGs. On-site counseling will be available at RISING events for women who release their stories. All major groups that work on ending violence against women at the federal level – including federations of rape crisis, women’s shelters, advocacy groups, the women lawyers federation, and the federation of local government equal opportunities officers – have come together and formulated joint political demands for OBR for Justice in Germany.

In the United Kingdom, London will host One Billion Rising for Justice 2014 in Trafalgar Square, one of the most popular, recognizable, historically rich and vibrant open spaces in the UK. Organizations are rising to demand the approval of amendments to the Children and Families Bill that will make Sex and Relationship Education compulsory in UK schools, the repeal of visa laws that tie domestic workers to their employers and put them at serious risk of exploitation and abuse, and for sweeping improvements in immigration detention centers to ensure that vulnerable women are not subject to violence.

In the United States, dozens of cities are rising. In Washington, DC, activists are rising at the Supreme Court and on Capitol Hill; in San Francisco, groups are organizing events in Oakland, Berkeley and around Golden Gate Bridge; in Santa Fe, over two dozen organizations are hosting a day-long event to discuss sex trafficking, give testimonies and participate in flash mobs and marches; and in New York City, over a dozen events are taking place that are inspiring women and men to RISE, RELEASE and DANCE.  Over 30,000 came out to RISE in Atlanta in 2013. The campaign escalates this year on February 14, 2014 to include a gathering at Ebenezer Baptist Church, a historic site of Martin Luther King Jr., and culminating in a STOP TRAFFIC MARCH beginning at The King Center and ending at Freedom Park with a flash mob to the 2013 One Billion Rising Anthem, Break the Chain. The groups are placing a special emphasis on ending human trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls in Atlanta, which has become known as a sexual tourism destination. The gathering at Ebenezer Baptist Church features speakers on the issue of violence against women and girls, and One Billion Rising Atlanta will honor local individuals and organizations working to empower women and girls in 14 key intersectional justice areas for 2014.

As we approach 14 February, 2014, V-activists will continue to shine a spotlight on the darkness of injustice and make the connections between their visions of justice and the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls by RISING, RELEASING and DANCING in the light.

To get involved with V-Day and ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE:

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About V-Day
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play “The Vagina Monologues” and other artistic works. The V-Day movement has raised over $100 million; educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it; crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns; reopened shelters; and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, and Iraq. V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements and awards and is, one of the Top-Rated organizations on both Charity Navigator and Guidestar.  V-Day’s most recent global campaign, ONE BILLION RISING, galvanized over one billion women and men on a global day of action towards ending violence against women and girls.