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Across the globe today women are dancing, striking, and in other ways "rising" to call attention to the plight of violence against women and girls across the many cultures of the planet.
Long celebrated as Valentine's Day in many cultures and leveraged for the last fifteen years by women's rights activists in the "V-Day movement," today's actions are a culmination of the "One Billion Rising" campaign spearheaded by author, playwright and activist Eve Ensler and champions equal rights and an end to violence against women and young girls.
"February 14, 2013 will change the world not because it is a day of magic, although there are indeed mystical elements surrounding this campaign. It will change the world because the preparation for it and organizing for it has already created an energetic wind or wave igniting existing efforts to end violence against women and create new ones," said Ensler in a statement.
Ensler says the campaign has brought together broad and unexpected coalitions of groups and individuals that have never worked together before, including young people and men previously unaware of how deep the problem of violence against women has been.
"We are rising together because it is in our connectedness, in our stomping feet and uncontrollable hips that the path and energy will be created to bring in a new world," Ensler said, referring to the campaign's focus on dance and public protest. "We will galvanize the will and the passion of everyone rising around the world to create change.”
According to the group, planned actions for the day include:
In Paris, the Women’s Coalition of the French Parliament is rising. The Minister of Women’s rights and hundreds of groups in India, students, teachers, and thousands of people are speaking out, and new laws and prevention education are being introduced. Over 100 events are taking place in Italy.
In Germany, more than 100 events are planned around the country including a flash mob at the Brandenburg Gate. In Bosnia, a network of organizations and individuals in Sarajevo plan a dancing parade along the riverside, public squares and busy places. From the north of Europe to the south, thousands of activists have planned events large and small.
In Bangladesh, over 25 million are expected to rise and will form human dancing chains across the country. The One Billion Rising anthem "Break the Chain" has been translated into Spanish, Farsi, Hindu, and many more languages. In Cape Town, Soweto, and Johannesburg, teen girls are touring schools and teaching the flash mob dance, and all over Africa local TV stations are showing the "Break the Chain" video leading up to the rising.
The Guardian is also offering live and ongoing coverage of actions here.
The 'Break the Chain' anthem, which will be performed at many of the events today, can be viewed here.
This article was originally published by Common Dreams and is reprinted with permission.
Photo: One Billion Rising