One Billion Rising fights to end violence

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By Amanda Woita, NewsNetNebraska

Minutes before noon on Valentine’s Day and out of nowhere the staff from the Women’s Center and others appeared in the middle of the Nebraska Union.

With a projector and without much introduction, Leslie Kravitz, the Resource Assistant for the Women’s Center, played a YouTube video of Eve Ensler, the playwright for “The Vagina Monlogues,” welcoming everyone to the One Billion Rising movement.

“I think it will be the biggest global action on the history of human kind for women to end the violence and to bring about a time when women are cherished, safe, free and equal,” Ensler said in her video.

After Ensler’s video, the group began to dance to “Break the Chain,” a song by Tena Clark, to raise awareness to their cause.

One Billion Rising is a movement to end violence against women all over the world. The movement first started with V-Day, a non-profit movement inspired by Ensler’s play where actors perform “The Vagina Monologues,” to raise money for anti-violence groups. One Billion Rising marks the fifteenth anniversary of the first V-Day.

People all over the world are participating in flash mobs and other events to help bring awareness to this issue. In her YouTube video, Ensler said women are dancing who have never danced before, and some women are risking their lives to dance for this cause.

Kravitz said this movement is a conglomerate of different women’s rights groups and shelters who are working for a change.

“It’s a meeting place where people can learn about different activist groups,” Kravitz said.

Catherine Tran, the Programming Assistant for the Women’s Center, said she likes that V-Day and One Billion Rising are an alternative to Valentine’s Day. Kravitz said having V-Day on Valentine’s Day is a reclaiming.

“It’s a great way to bring an end to violence against women,” Tran said.

Other participants, like sophomore actuarial science major Yan Xin, said she enjoyed the dancing.

“It’s fun,” Xin said. “It’s happy thing and people should come and dance. It’s a good movement.”

Other events for One Billion Rising include a poetry reading and dance benefit at Gratitude Café and Bakery at 7:00 p.m. and another flash mob at the YWCA on ‘O’ street at 7:30 p.m. Those interested in dancing can learn the choreography on YouTube.

“I really believe this day will literally change the mindset, the paradigm and the energy of the planet,” Ensler said in her video.  “And when we wake up on the fifteenth, we will not be finished with our efforts. We will begin the next stage of our efforts where violence against women and girls will never be marginalized again.”