Do you ever feel like the endless barrage of social, environmental, and political bad news is so overwhelming and depressing that falling back to sleep in denial feels inviting? If so, then you may just feel inspired to action after considering the impact of billions rising everywhere. People are not merely rising, they are dancing, singing, and marching while learning ways to educate and inspire the change that most of us dream of. With only a little over two months since the new year, the effects of fearless and determined individuals across cultures and genders has begun to send ripples of hope throughout the world. The best part is that this is only the beginning!
This Global Super-Movement is born out of an absolute necessity for change. It is the people-powered alternative to the imminent destructive future being offered by out-of-touch mega corporations and politicians. As individuals within The Idle No More, One Billion Rising, Occupy, and Climate movements begin to realize their common struggle, act in solidarity, share their communication networks and act as a unified force of nature, we are starting to see some amazing momentum. Let's look at recent successes...
February 14th One Billion Rising successfully organized individuals in 207 countries to rise, strike and dance to end violence towards women. As playwright, Eve Ensler stated, "One Billion Rising brought together coalitions of groups and individuals that have never worked together before and galvanized new supporters and associations and masses of men who were not previously engaged, but now see violence as their issue." She also added that, "One Billion Rising has shown that violence against women is not a national, tribal, ethnic, or religious issue, but a global phenomenon."
Paul Hawken, renowned environmentalist and author of Blessed Unrest said, "One Billion Rising is a joyous recognition of the sacred and how it must never be made profane by any person, institution or government. Violence and oppression of women is the core wound that foreshadows all other problems in the world, from poverty to war to destruction of the environment. Rising is not only a dance, it is the birth of a future." Clearly our problems and solutions are entwined around the same roots so it important to embrace and support the many converging streams that are creating a giant river of healing and transformation for our communities and planet.
Magalie Bonneau-Marcil facilitated One Billion Rising events in San Francisco and also founded Dancing without Borders, an initiative focused on producing and facilitating interactive dances and rituals for social transformation. She has co-produced several large-scale human aerial arts and flash mobs in Europe, South Africa, Rio+20, United States and Panama in support of international social and environmental campaigns. She directed and co-produced videos in support of One Billion Rising and my favorite was seeing men and women dancing together in a San Francisco prison to break the chains of violence. One inmate stating, "Mentally we are free but physically we are locked up," a sentiment that shows the power of dance, art and music to fuel healing and inspiration in the face of despair.
In San Francisco men and women joining together in a flash-mob dance to support womens' rights. The dance, choreographed by Debbie Allen who choreographed for Fame, will take place at the corner of Powell and Market in downtown San Francisco.
The excitement of making a better world is contagious and not limited to art, flash-mobs, gatherings, rallies, and dances. Businesses are are also joining the dance to support events like this. Inspired by One Billion Rising, San Francisco-based socially conscious legwear service HauteLegs has agreed to donate $5 for each new subscription through the month of March to One Billion Rising. Now you can look your best as you dance into spring after a long winter while supporting a worthy cause for women!
The success continued shortly after One Billion Rising when, on February 17, we witnessed the largest climate rally in history. Speaking up against abusive environmental practices that threaten our planets health, people from all walks of life joined forces in what many are calling The Tarsands Showdown. Led by Indigenous Elders, thousands of natives and non-natives marched to Los Angeles City Hall on behalf of Idle No More inviting all to join a traditional circle dance in solidarity with over 15,000 people that were outside of The White House. The Sierra Club and 350.org had organized the event in D.C. to send a strong message to President Obama to reject The Keystone XL Pipeline and keep his promise to act against global warming.
In January, Eve Ensler also noted the similarities between the movements against violence towards women and the environment in an article for The Guardian.
For once, separate movements are finding each other, assisting each other and working towards common goals. For once, the response is not merely angry protests, it is a creative collaboration with multiple expressions and many people joining in the dance to bring about the changes that politicians continue to drag their feet on. What will you do to participate? What other movements will flow into this river of healing and transformation?
Despite our differences, we are one people sharing a sacred and fragile planet with the power to create a beautiful future. Don't let the moment pass you by. The struggle to prevent violence, to stop destructive environmental practices and bring healing needs your support. Every positive action makes a difference. 2013 is still young and promises to be an exciting year. Don't despair, be the hope and you find that your inspiration is contagious!