That’s 1 billion women.
That’s why Trace Fleming-Smith, a victim’s advocate for 2nd Chance, Inc., and others, are throwing a celebration in behalf of One Billion Rising: a global movement to raise awareness and demand action and justice against violence against women.
The event will take place at Jacksonville State University’s Theron Montgomery Building Auditorium from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is free of charge. It has been organized by a variety of different people, organizations, and JSU students, Fleming-Smith said.
“We’re so grateful Jacksonville has opened its doors to us for this event again. This is the second year we’ve done it,” she said. “I’m totally so stoked. People are getting really excited and I love that because that means we’re going to see some really impressive things on Valentine’s Day.”
According to Fleming-Smith, last year’s event brought in nearly 200 people.
“This one, we’ve been planning it for several months now and it’s just really coming to a head. Our hope is that it will be even better attended than last year,” Fleming-Smith said.
The event will begin with a proclamation against violence against women, followed by guest speakers including LaQuentin “Lyrical Forte” Ragland, Taomi Ray, and readings from Eve Ensler's play, the “The Vagina Monologues.”
Ragland said he decided to participate in the event because he has been an advocate against domestic violence for several years.
“I had a high school classmate that actually died due to domestic violence,” he said.
Fleming-Smith said attendees also have the opportunity to dance along with the event’s theme song “Break the Chain,” written by Tena Clark.
Sean Creech, the co-coordinator for One Billion Rising, said other little events will be going on throughout the week to promote One Billion Rising. Creech held a photo shoot in September to help get out word of the event. The photos can be seen on its Facebook page.
According to Creech, 17 people showed up for the shoot, which took 12 to 13 hours. One particular photograph, in which a woman’s eyes are covered with a bright red scarf, symbolizes blind justice.
Fleming-Smith said violence against women is a global epidemic and the only way to invoke change is to bring people together.
“The best part about that is that it brings people together using creative means, through art and dance and music to strike those conversations. You don’t have to speak someone’s language in order to see and appreciate them dancing,” she said.
Staff writer Madasyn Czebiniak: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @MCzebiniak_Star.
Editor's note: This story has been modified from its original version to correct an error regarding the use of the works of Eve Esler in the One Billion Rising event at JSU. Selections from Ensler's work "The Vagina Monologues" will be read.