Being Here Now: a Statement for 14 February
Here we are, at the great rising. Here, where every minute a new story, a new song, photo, poster, poem, justice video is made and released from some part of the world. Here, where young girls in the Philippines chant on the streets that "if this is the new world, I want to be part of it." Here, where a genius woman mentor of formerly incarcerated women in South Central LA decides on the spot to call a rising at the country jail, essentially a mental institution where women inmates are horribly abused and left untreated. Here, where two opposing teams of footballers in Peru enter the field in solidarity wearing One Billion Rising T-shirts, and where construction workers declare their sites free of sexual harassment. Here, where women and men in Swaziland dance outside a game park protesting the murder of women and men who venture into the park for wood or water or to retrieve their own cattle. Here, where hundreds of thousands of rickshaw drivers in India are sensitized about sexual violence and now carry signs on their rickshaws that read "My religion is respecting women." Here, in the US where activists are literally stopping traffic to end human trafficking in Miami and Atlanta, in Croatia where the best hockey players create a justice video to talk to men about violence against women. Where farmworkers for immigration reform are Rising in 11 US states and 4 Mexican states, where youth are rising in South Africa, Bangladesh, Philippines, India and across all 5 boroughs in New York, with poetry, concerts, and dances and militant protest. Here, where hundreds of cities across Italy and Germany are Rising and in Palestine where the Police Academy, Ministry of Women, Ministry of Culture, and the Governorate of Ramallah and the municipality are coming together to deal with the issue of domestic rape and honor crimes. Here, in the dangerous zones of Syria, Congo, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, where women are risking their lives to rise and take back the streets. Here, in the Caribbean where they rise to make all forms of marital rape illegal. Here, in Haiti where fierce young girls are leading the way dancing up their freedom and calling for the upcoming Carnaval to be free of the threat of violence, to be safe for them to celebrate and be respected, to enjoy the same rights as men and boys to walk and dance in the streets, to cherish life. Here, in London where a coalition of women demand an end to FGM and justice for asylum seekers, domestic workers, and incarcerated women at Trafalgar Square. Here, where police officers, rocks stars, tribal leaders, mayors, governors, MP's Congresspeople, Presidents, Queens, the Head Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, religious leaders, and Bollywood stars rise with thousands of frontline social justice organizations.
What is clear is that One Billion Rising for Justice has gone beyond a 1-day action in 190 countries. It is a global determination to end the multiple violences - racial, gender, economic and environmental - that intersect with violence against women. Women and men know a new time has come and it will be determined and directed by activists on the ground in each community who know the justice they need and deserve and what they need to do to get it.
This week in Hong Kong, thousands of women migrant workers rose and danced in the rain to end the horrific sexual, physical, and economic violations they suffer on the job. They moved with irrepressible rage, joy, determination, and unity to end the conditions and systems that destroy their bodies and humanity.
We are Here. Together. The new Here that we have made with our dedication, our bodies, our best strategies, our incessant organizing, our coalition building, our inclusiveness, our mad dancing.
Here, 14 February 2014, where we give our lives to ending all forms of oppression and all of the violences towards women. Where we work in our deepest selves to rise above our divisions and join in local, national, and global solidarity. Here, in the new world owned by no one and directed by everyone, where creativity flows and we no longer doubt the power of dance to release the trauma that has closed the gateways of our bodies and hearts. May we free and call up the fire and love.
Eve Ensler and Monique Wilson