Wednesday, March 5, 2014

One Billion Rising Flash Mob

My name is Kassi Reisbeck and I am serving at Tahoe SAFE Alliance as an AmeriCorps member. I work with the Prevention Program team on outreach and awareness to teens in our community.  Part of my prevention duties is running a club in Truckee High School, Teen Peace Project, which is a peer-based group focused around healthy relationships and respect. On February 14th some of my club members and I participated in an awesome movement that I am excited to share with everyone!

On February 14th community members from North Lake Tahoe and Truckee gathered at the train station to watch, cheer, and dance to a flash mob representing the global campaign One Billion Rising. Started in 2012, One Billion Rising is a global campaign to end violence again women, rise for justice, and promote gender equality. The “billion” refers to the UN statistic that one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, or about one billion.

Last year, a one-day event was held, a call for one billion women around the world to join together to dance in a show of collective strength.  This one day flash mob culminated a global action to end violence against women with tens of thousands of events held in more than 190 countries! This year on February 14th even more stood up and became a voice in the name of justice for gender equality.

This was the first year for Truckee to participate in this one day event and we had more people participate then we ever imagined. Jan Rogers, a Truckee community member, was the go getter for this flash mob, organizing the place, time, and choreography to the dance. She originally planned the dance to go off at noon but decided to change it to 3:10 so youth could be involved. This is when Tahoe SAFE Alliance and the Prevention Program team planned to get participate in the event. Tahoe SAFE Alliance’s Prevention Program collaborates with local school districts to provide violence prevention education and facilitate youth empowerment groups.

When I mentioned the opportunity to participate in One Billion Rising to my club members they really jumped on this opportunity! They were extremely excited to participate in the flash mob and help raise awareness locally.  Jan was ecstatic to hear teenagers wanted to get involved. The club members learned the dance at one of their weekly club meetings and spent the rest of the week making signs for people to hold at the flash mob.

Not only did the Truckee One Billion Rising event go amazing, throughout the world this event was, in my eyes, life changing. Women and men of all ages chose to rise up and speak out about the violence that is happening around the world. The subject of Violence against women is a difficult one to discuss and face for most people, cultures, and communities. Whether it is considered taboo, a non-issue, or private matters, a wall of silence often envelopes the issue, making it one of the most entrenched and difficult human rights violations to dislodge and eradicate. Fortunately more and more people are rising up and becoming that voice. The Truckee event showed that, in full motion, and I could not be happier with the results!