Last Valentine’s Day, I was on an “international” date—with one billion women and men.
Together we danced on the streets of different cities all over the world—Manila, New York, London, Bangladesh, Rome, Belgrade (Serbia), the City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo—bringing to life “One Billion Rising,” the global campaign calling for the end of violence against women (VAW).
This was the massive event envisioned by “The Vagina Monologues” author Eve Ensler, who was inspired to start the campaign after seeing how Congolese women would dance despite going through abuse. Ensler danced with the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo also last Feb. 14.
Here in Manila, the main “rising” of the day-long event was held on Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City. Renowned actor Monique Wilson, theater organization New Voice Company, and women’s groups Gabriela and Gabriela Women’s Party, students, mothers, fathers and even small kids danced to the campaign’s local theme song, “Isang Bilyong Babaeng Babangon.”
In between the dancing were performances by singers Maegan Aguilar and Bayang Barrios, and also Wilson, who sang “I Am Rising.”
The Filipino version of Eve Ensler’s piece “Over It,” and the poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou, were recited by women artists and leaders of different sectors.
Also there to show their support were the “V-Men,” among them National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, TV host Boy Abunda, theater actor Art Acuña, TV actor Bobby Andrews, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, visual artist Egai Fernandez, Movie and Television Review Classification Board chair Eugenio Villareal and rock singer Chickoy Pura.