United States

Over 60 YWCAs Across the United States Join One Billion Rising to Take a Stand Against Violence

The YWCA Asheville rises up against violence through dance.

On February 14, 2013 YWCAs all across the United States joined with activists around the world for One Billion Rising, the largest day of action in the history of V-Day. 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.

One Billion Rising began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 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. YWCAs joined the millions of activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world to express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, and Rise in defiance of the injustices women suffer. Below are just a few of the great events YWCAs across the country held:

Asheville Rising!
The YWCA Asheville and Western North Carolina hosted Asheville Rising, where over 200 people gathered at the YWCA for dancing, music and poetry. “The Asheville Rising Event was powerful and inspiring. We are thankful to everyone who attended and to our nonprofit partners who work with us to heal wounds, empower the women of our community and advocate for systematic change for women’s equality,” said Executive Director of YWCA Asheville, Beth Maczka. “Asheville Rising is truly a community effort and a community partnership.”

Asheville Rising helped raise awareness about the serious issue of violence against women. It also brought together a group of caring and motivated individuals who plan to stay involved through the Asheville Rising Facebook Group they created. They have already begun planning another event onInternational Women’s Day, March 8.

The YWCA Clinton participants learned the choreography to the One Billion Rising dance to end violence against women.
Clinton Rising!
The YWCA Clinton hosted a One Billion Rising event where participants learned the choreography to the One Billion Rising dance. The event also featured a clothing sale from Allow Abundant Love, with proceeds benefiting the YWCA Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Resource Center. YWCA Clinton’s One Billion Rising event also raised awareness through their dance video.

YWCA Great Falls
One Billion Rising
The YWCA Great Falls participated in One Billion Rising by holding a vigil for victims of domestic abuse and violence. Organizers also worked to dedicate an angel statue to be placed in the rose garden in front of the YWCA that memorializes the women who left the YWCA’s Mercy Home and were killed as a result of domestic violence.

"The candlelight vigil and memorial dedication was very moving,” said YWCA Great Falls Executive Director Janet Duffy. “As we heard the voices of the women in our program, it was easy to be transported to their experiences.”

Students from Morningside Elementary School and residents of Lodge Assisted Living Community also made 176 luminaries to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

“Many tears of sadness and outrage for our mothers, sisters, friends who have endured violence and suffered in silence were shed during the event,” said Duffy. “While we may not have danced in the street to bring awareness and stop violence against women, the power of our program was a call to action for each of us to speak out and be accountable to stop violence when we see it, hear it or learn about it.”

The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg partnered up with the Women of Color Network to celebrate One Billion Rising by making a video.
YWCA Greater Harrisburg
The YWCA of Greater Harrisburg partnered up with the Women of Color Network to celebrate One Billion Rising by making a video. “Central Pennsylvania’s One Billion Rising Campaign was a huge success. Hundreds of women, men and children joined the dance and let their voices be heard on February 14th,” said Devan Drabik, YWCA of Greater Harrisburg’s Fundraising and Publications Manager.

Twin Cities Rising
YWCA McLean joined the Children’s Home and Aid and Mid Central Community Action’s CDV – Neville House Program to create Twin Cities Rising in support of

YWCA McLean rises up against violence with their Why I Rise cards.
One Billion Rising. Twin Cities Rising featured a Zumba dance party and a happy hour. These events called upon the world to interrupt their day to dance and demand an end to violence.

Twin Cities Rising is an act of solidarity, purpose and energy to shake the world into a new consciousness. During each event participants were given the opportunity to write why raising awareness is important to them on "Why I Rise" cards, which were displayed at the event. Participants were able to have fun exercising and dancing, while at the same time working to end violence against women.

The YWCA Salt Lake City and other Utah nonprofits performed the Break the Chain dance on the South Steps of the Utah State Capitol.

One Billion Rising Utah
The YWCA Salt Lake City joined other Utah nonprofits to host One Billion Rising Utah on the South Steps of the Utah State Capitol. The goal of the event was to invite all Utah women and those who love them to dance and call for an end to violence. The event featured a group performance to Break the Chain, an international anthem created for the day. Dancers were encouraged to wear pink and red to show their support for the One Billion Rising movement.

One Billion Rising Utah aimed to encourage the community to support local domestic violence shelters and legislation like the Violence Against Women Act. YWCA Salt Lake City hoped the event would make clear the importance of promoting peace, fostering healthy relationships, setting limits, refusing to accept violence, and helping those in trouble to seek help.

"The YWCA Salt Lake City has empowered Utah women for more than 100 years, and we are proud to join our sisters worldwide to raise awareness about the problem of violence against women and girls," said Anne Burkholder, YWCA Salt Lake City Chief Executive Officer.

The YWCA Richmond marched in unison through downtown Richmond to raise awareness about One Billion Rising.

YWCA of Richmond
In an effort to elevate the energy around the local One Billion Rising rally, the YWCA of Richmond invited the community to join staff and volunteers to make posters and a banner to show support and raise awareness about the movement.  Volunteers, staff, community partners, clients, and friends came together to share their unique messages and then marched in unison through downtown Richmond showing their support before attending a special event at the Richmond Coliseum. 

"It was very uplifting to be a part of One Billion Rising. The speakers and dancers gave messages of hope that helped to build unity in our community”, said DerShawn Jefferson, an Intern at the YWCA of Richmond.  The event allowed new friendships to be formed as attendees discussed why this issue was so important to them and considered ways to continue to spread the message past the One Billion Rising rally.

Visit all the YWCA associations who took part in One Billion Rising:

• YWCA Asheville
• YWCA Bergen County
• YWCA Bethlehem
• YWCA Boston
• YWCA Cambridge
• YWCA Carlisle
• YWCA Cass Clay
• YWCA Central Alabama
• YWCA Central Maine
• YWCA Central Massachusetts
• YWCA Central Orange County
• YWCA Charleston
• YWCA Clark County
•  YWCA Clinton
• YWCA Cortland
• YWCA Eastern Union County
• YWCA Glendale
• YWCA Great Falls
• YWCA Greater Cincinnati
• YWCA Greater Cleveland
• YWCA Greater Flint
• YWCA Greater Harrisburg
• YWCA Greater Johnstown
• YWCA Greater Lafayette
 YWCA Greater Lawrence
• YWCA Kalamazoo
• YWCA Kauai County
• YWCA Kitsap County
• YWCA La Cross
• YWCA Lancaster
• YWCA Lincoln
• YWCA McLean County
• YWCA Memphis
• YWCA Metropolitan Detroit
• YWCA Metropolitan St. Louis
• YWCA Missoula
• YWCA Mohawk Valley
• YWCA New Britain
• YWCA North Eastern New York
• YWCA Oklahoma City
 YWCA Orange County
• YWCA Palm Beach County
• YWCA Pierce County
• YWCA Richmond
• YWCA Rock County
• YWCA Salt Lake City
• YWCA San Diego County
• YWCA San Gabriel Valley
• YWCA Silicon Valley
• YWCA Sonoma County
• YWCA South Hampton Roads
• YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
• YWCA Spokane
• YWCA St. Joseph
• YWCA the Hartford Region
• YWCA the Sauk Valley
• YWCA Ulster County
• YWCA Walla Walla
• YWCA West Central Michigan
• YWCA Western Massachusetts
• YWCA Wichita
• YWCA Yakima

To learn more, visit www.onebillionrising.org.

To learn more about V Day and its campaigns visit www.vday.org.