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One Billion Rising for Justice: silent vigil and walk

By Mara Koch
Special to The PREVIEW

On Feb. 12 at 5 p.m, Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will join with activists around the world for One Billion Rising for Justice.

The campaign will build upon the energy and momentum that was created on Feb. 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.

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 Feb. 14 outside places where they are entitled to justice — courthouses, 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.

Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will be joining the global campaign on Wednesday, Feb. 12, with a silent vigil. Small towns are a unique environment with little anonymity and a plethora of gossip and hearsay. Can you imagine walking into the grocery store after being a victim of violence in this community? This V-Day, community members will rise and pose the question: How can a victim experience justice and healing in a small town like ours?

All community members are invited to meet at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the bell tower in downtown Pagosa Springs. During the silent vigil, participants will walk from the bell tower to Town Park.

The vigil will highlight the challenges of speaking out against violence in a small town and reporting acts of victimization. Giving voice to the experience of violence is often an important part of healing from it.

During the vigil, some will wear ski masks and some will have their mouths duct-taped to represent the ways in which victims are afraid to be seen as such and silenced or left without a voice. All will be mindful of the courage that it takes to speak out and ask for justice against violence, especially in this small community.

The entire community — men and women, young and old — are invited to attend and be a voice for those who cannot.

Participants will walk from the bell tower to Town Park via the county courthouse. Candles will be provided at Town Park to honor the courage of survivors of violence and contemplate how we can support justice and healing in our local community.

To learn more about One Billion Rising for Justice Pagosa Springs, call 264-9075 or e-mail the organization at pagosaviolenceprevention@yahoo.com.

One Billion Rising was the biggest mass action in human history. The campaign began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that one in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls.

On Feb. 14, 2013, people across the world came together to strike, dance and rise in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women. Over 10,000 events took place on the ground and the campaign took over media and social media worldwide for 48 hours, trending in seven countries. The wildly successful grassroots campaign was covered widely by media in all corners of world including The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and many more.

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 public service campaigns; reopened shelters; and funded over 13,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, Egypt 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. Visit www.vday.org.

This story was posted on February 6, 2014.