On Valentine’s Day 2013, Juneau celebrated One Billion Rising with people all over the planet, bringing global attention to the epidemic of gender-based violence. Initiated by Eve Ensler, One Billion Rising is a revolutionary campaign to end violence against women and girls. Today, one of every three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. That is one billion mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, sisters, partners and friends. Yet, most of the world remains silent and indifferent. The time has come to put a stop to the violence, and to the silence that surrounds it.
On Feb.14, one billion women and those who love them accepted the invitation to walk out, rise up, dance and strike to demand an end to violence against women and girls. In Juneau, we gathered at the atrium in the State Office Building at noon and we danced. We were blessed with a variety of inspirational speakers and dancers. Thank you to each one: Annie Whittey from the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; Freda Westman, Alaska Native Sister Grand Camp President; Sasha Soboleff, Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp Vice President; Christy NaMee Eriksen, spoken word artist; Jesse Kiehl, CBJ Assembly Member; Saralyn Tabachnick, AWARE Executive Director; Yees Ku Oo and Eagle Raven Dancers, introduced by Patricia Adkisson; Phil Campbell, Pastor of Northern Light United Church and member of Juneau Violence Prevention Coalition; and Ati Nasiah and Dawn Kolden, AWARE Prevention staff. Special thanks to the planning committee who brought this event to fruition, Annie Whittey, Mandy O’Neal Cole and Tracy Taylor. We could not have done it without you!
One Billion Rising has a remarkable website: www.onebillionrising.org, with videos and stories from people around the world. Please take time to check it out — it is inspiring, beautiful, tragic and amazing — all incredibly heartfelt.
On Feb. 14, ONE BILLION women and those who love them chose to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to gender violence. One billion rising moved the earth, activating women and men across every country. We want the world to see our collective strength, our numbers and our solidarity across borders. Thank you Juneau for joining locally, with laughter and tears. Thank you for supporting our community and our survivors!
Saralyn Tabachnick, Executive Director, Aiding Women in Abuse & Rape Emergencies (AWARE), Inc.