Valentine’s Day is upon us. It's a time when some of us celebrate having found romantic love, and some of us contemplate what wine goes best with burning our ex’s sweaters in a bonfire.
A more worthwhile Valentine’s Day tradition might be to reclaim the day as V-Day -- the name given to February 14 by playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 1988 as part of a global movement to end violence against women.
This week, we're standing in solidarity with that movement -- and the goal of ending all violence and gender oppression -- as we look ahead at your Social Justice Forecast.
All Month Long:
Stand Up For Women And Girls With One Billion Rising
One Billion Rising began in 2012 as an international call to end gender-based violence through protests, flash mobs, and workshops around the world during the month of February and until International Women’s Day on March 8. We’ll be highlighting an example of those events in this week’s forecast, but with hundreds of events planned through February around the world, One Billion Rising is a Category 5 Global Liberation Level Event. You can find One Billion Rising and V-Day events near you through the searchable map on their website.
The forecast calls for localized lightning strikes of flash mobs in metropolitan areas. Early on, we’re expecting a Black Lives Matter front to make an appearance in the Pacific Northwest. Later in the week, folks out west should prepare for a high-impact convergence of trans activists and allies in California, while the central portion of the country gets ready for a large cluster of reproductive justice to settle over Oklahoma later on.
Friday, February 12–Sunday February 14
Nationwide: Watch The Vagina Monologues
This weekend, performances of Ensler's play The Vagina Monologues are being held in cities and on university campuses across the country. (Ensler has addressed valid criticism of the play's cissexist title, saying in an interview with Time magazine last year, “We need to create a loving space for people with vaginas, and women without them, to address our oppressions, desires, and secrets and to simultaneously honor the fact that gender is not based on anatomy or genitalia.”)
Proceeds from these events will be donated to local charities and organizations that work to support survivors of domestic violence, to women’s shelters, and to efforts to end violence against women. This is one of those times when you can take in a thought-provoking and powerful performance and support some good work on the social justice front at the same time. Find a performance near you.
- Sunday, February 14
Atlanta, GA: Join One Billion Rising's "Rise For Revolution" Flash Mob
2–4 p.m. (CST)
Fourth Ward Skatepark
830 Willoughby Way NE, Atlanta, GA
One Billion Rising Atlanta is staging a flash mob as one of the many events around the world to raise awareness of gender-based violence. The event's actual location will be announced at the park when everyone gathers at 2 p.m. Those who would like to join can sign up and learn the dance steps through videos on One Billion Rising Atlanta's website. Information for similar actions being held around the world can be found at onebillionrising.org.
Flash mobs and dancing have become a staple of One Billion Rising. They allow women to forcefully yet peacefully make their presence and demands for justice known, and offer a spectacular show of solidarity with women around the world. These events are not the final goal but rather a call to action. Find out what’s being done near you and be inspired to be part of this rising wind of change!
Tuesday, February 16
Portland, OR: Get inspired by the women behind #BlackLivesMatter at Portland State University's MLK Tribute
7–9 p.m. (PST)
Main Event: PSU Stott Center- 930 SW Hall St, Portland OR
Overflow: Smith Memorial Student Union — 1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR
Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, two of the three women who founded Black Lives Matter, will be speaking at Portland State University on the state of the movement for black liberation today. Tickets for the main event in the Peter Scott Center are sold out, but PSU is offering free tickets to watch a live stream of the presentation in the Smith Memorial Student Union. Tickets for overflow must be reserved at the PSU Box Office or by phone at 503-725-3307. Get your tickets and treat yourself to a presentation by two of the women who have called up a storm of racial justice across the country.
Wednesday, February 17
Riverside, CA: Don't miss the UC Riverside Asterisk Trans* Conference registration deadline
Registration deadline is Wednesday, February 17
(Conference is February 26–27. We'll be sure to highlight it for you again here!)
University of California Riverside
900 University Ave, Riverside, CA
The aim of the UC Riverside Asterisk Trans* Conference is to “build community for trans* people and allies, to address trans* health and well-being, and to provide education and resources for trans* youth advocates.” The conference will have breakout sessions covering a wide variety of issues including sexual health, being a supportive partner of a trans person, economic justice, and the experiences of trans people of color. Some sessions are closed groups, meaning they are safe spaces claimed for particular sets of people with a shared identity.
For more information and to register, go to the Asterisk Trans* Conference website.
Friday, February 19
Norman, OK: Register for Take Root Conference 2016: Red State Perspectives On Reproductive Justice
Conference is February 26–27
Late registration available until February 27
University Of Oklahoma
1704 Asp Avenue, Norman, OK
Although the conference is a few weeks away, those wishing to attend should start making plans now. The Take Root Conference hosts organizations and individuals from around the country working for reproductive justice in largely conservative, or red, states. Whether working for access to contraception, educational resources, or health care services, it can be especially difficult to achieve progress for reproductive rights in states that lean to the far right of the political spectrum. At Take Root, advocates and organizers can share tactics, learn from each other, and build strategies together to achieve their common goals. For more information and to register now, check out the Take Root Conference website.
Oakland, CA: Mark your calendar for “Breaking the Silence,” a town hall for girls and women of color.
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA
This town-hall event is the culmination of a six-month series, “Conjure Circle,” which has consisted of works highlighting arts and activism in the Oakland area, such as #SayHerName and #BlackLivesMatter. This final installment is part of “the national series of convenings focused on elevating the experiences of women and girls of color across a range of issues including police violence, criminalization, school pushout, sexual assault, domestic violence and poverty,” according to the event’s Facebook page. The event is aimed at raising awareness of the issues faced by girls and women of color, inclusive of all people of color who self-identify as women, so those concerns can be addressed to local decision makers. Registration is free but required.
With much love to all of our sisters and siblings in the struggle, this concludes this week’s Social Justice Forecast. Remember to keep finding ways to get involved and make a difference right where you live. Whether the work needs to bring out the sun or call down a storm, we need you.