…get ready to rise!! It is amazing to think that a whole year has gone by since February 14th, 2013, when a billion people worldwide rose to demand the the end of violence against women and girls. There were thousands of risings throughout the world, hosting in 207 countries! What an incredible movement that has created waves and new voices around the globe.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the one and only Eve Ensler a few weeks ago in Manchester, VT. It is still difficult me to find the right words to describe this experience. I just get so overwhelmed with emotion, energy and excitement. Her energy, compassion, and humanism exuded around her, touching each and everyone of us in the room. Her warmth and humor helped us all feel connected with everyone around us, even though most of us had never spoken before. Just knowing that here we all were, to support and hear this incredible woman speak about her life, her struggles, and these heartbreaking issues around the world…knowing that we were all there in solidarity, because we care about the betterment of this world – stopping the violence, searching for justice, spreading love and dignity to all.
Eve’s ability to make everyone laugh despite the difficult and painful topics that were spoken about was so admirable. To know that she has been through hell and back, particularly through her recent battle with cancer, but still see her ability to share her love, compassion, and joy for life with everyone she encounters. She is a role model for every person in this world, who wants to make it a better place. I know she is for me. She inspires me to strive for more, for hope, for justice, for dignity. I hope we can all rise and follow her example. Eve Ensler saved my life when I was a young teen, trying to recover from sexual assault, depression, alcohol, drugs, feeling unworthy and unlovable, estranged from the world. The first time I saw the Vagina Monologues, something changed inside me. I had also recently been to a ‘Take Back the Night’ with acquaintance rape survivor and educator, Katie Koestner. A whole new world was brought to my eyes. A world of empowered women; women who do not cower from embarrassment when attention is brought to their vaginas or what has happened to their vaginas, but strong women who are proud of their vaginas and are not afraid to speak out. Women who want to break the silence. Women who strive to overcome obstacles of sexism and oppression; women who strive to be who they want to be; women who want to change the world. I found a new appreciation for myself as a woman, as well as a new purpose in this world – to help make it a better place for all, particularly women and girls.
Eve Ensler, the Vagina Monologues, and V-Day, along with countless other speakers/writers/presenters/advocates for women and girls have touched and changed my life with thousands of other around the world. We too can touch others and make a difference. This is a call for YOU to rise and dance for justice tomorrow on Friday, February 14th, 2014. I am rising, because too much violence and too many atrocities have been carried out on women and girls for far too long. It is time to make a stand. It is time to make a change. Women are the caregivers, the carriers of culture, the mothers – girls are the future. It is time we celebrate and honor this all around the world and stop the violence!
Join us at the National Museum of Dance between 12:00-7:00pm for dancing, for healing, for discussion, for drumming! Let’s dance to the drum beat of solidarity with the ONE BILLION RISING around the world. Let’s do it for JUSTICE!