One Billion Rising, on the Midcoast

Feb 01, 2013

One Billion Rising, set for Thursday, Feb. 14, will be the largest Day of Action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. A global event called for by Eve Ensler, activist and author of “The Vagina Monologues,” One Billion Rising is women and the people who love them dancing in the streets to re-spark a real movement to end violence against women.

There are groups in at least 142 countries planning actions, strikes and dances throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and throughout the United States. Locally, there will be events in Thomaston and Belfast.

Why One Billion? Because there are 3 billion women in the world and United Nations statistics show that one out of every three women will be raped or assaulted in her life time. Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine, a sexual assault response services and prevention-based agency serving all genders and ages; and New Hope for Women, a domestic violence, dating violence and stalking resource center, both serve Knox and Waldo, as well as Lincoln and Sagadahoc, counties. They invite every member of the Midcoast community to join 1 billion women and the men who love them to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women and girls on Valentine’s Day.

Rise and Dance in Thomaston

There will be a DJ-ed dance and education event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Watts Hall, Main Street/Route 1, Thomaston. Organizers invite people to come alone, bring their schoolmates or officemates or bring their Valentines for fun, empowering songs, dance, selected poems and informational displays to lend a voice to all who have been silenced by violence.

“We want to put Midcoast Maine on the map of worldwide gatherings aimed at ending violence against women and girls,” said Dragon Farm event organizer Maura Melley. “The problem is global and local; too close to home for too many of us.”

Donations are encouraged, and all are welcome. Proceeds will benefit Dragon Farm, New Hope for Women and Sexual Assault Support Services. The Teen Parent Program is an event collaborator. Water and snacks will be for sale at the event.

Dancing in Belfast streets

At 6 p.m. at the downtown Belfast corner of Main and High streets in Belfast, there will be 15 minutes of picture taking, video streaming, dancing and speaking. Afterwards, there will be a Speak and Celebration of participants’ commitment to end violence against women in the Abbott Room of Belfast Free Library, 106 High St.

“Bring songs, stories, poems to share,” said organizer Larraine Brown.

The Belfast event is produced by Women and Their Allies to benefit Family Planning of Maine and New Hope for Women. For more information, call Brown at 323-2747. To learn ways to become a part of ending violence in our community, visit onebillionrising.org, newhopeforwomen.org or sassmm.org for a link to everything one needs to know to join the revolution at school, home or office, even if only for five minutes on Feb. 14.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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