Swift Current is taking action to join a global campaign to stop violence against women and girls by hosting an event as part of the One Billion Rising movement.
Swift Current's One Billion Rising celebration will be hosted on Valentine's Day, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Swift Current and the Swift Current Library.
The evening will feature music, drumming, written word and dance in this artistic expression of support to end violence against women.
"We don't have to rely on anyone else. We are responsible for ending violence. And we can do it," noted local organizer Christine Ciona.
"And the best way to do it is to rise. Let's dance. Let's talk about it. Let's start a conversation. Instead of complaining that it happens, get off your butt and rise. Let's do something together, in a really positive, affirming, celebratory way."
The local One Billion Rising celebration began with a general email invitation at Christmas, and in less than 30 days people have rallied in support of the effort.
"Every week someone else will call," Ciona noted. "And that's really the power of grassroots. And you know it's right because you don't have to get people to come, because people are just rising, they know it's important and they're showing up."
The email call attracted a combination of ages, experience, and backgrounds for this collaborative effort. Participants range in age from high school students to seniors, men and women, writers, performers, actors, musicians, song writers, and dancers.
"Whether they're passionate for personal reasons, or just passionate because they want to make a difference in the world, it's all good. We're really excited."
"We know it's important. It's indicated here because our circle keeps getting bigger and bigger week after week. People are here and they are ready to dance, and ready to sing. They are writing songs specifically for this event that lift people up. It's not about our sorrow. It's about how we rise, how we move through tragedy, and how we want to live now.
"I think it's a real indication that it matters and it's necessary, and we're ready."
While the evening will showcase a flash mob to Break the Chain, choreographed by the renown Debbie Allen, there is no format for events being hosted in 182 countries.
"We didn't have any framework. The whole thing about one billion rising is everyone has the freedom to rise however they want. The bottom line is we want to rise to end violence. It's a creative celebration."
"It's really cool. People are having their own way to be empowered to end violence creatively."
The One Billion Rising event grew out of the staggering fact that one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. When you localize those statistics, every Swift Current resident knows someone who is going to be hurt or has already been hurt.
"This is an invitation for all of those women, and the men who love them, to stand up and rise and say enough. This can totally stop. We can take back the power. We can demand our rights. We can create amazing social change. We can expect our families and our politicians and our educators and our social system to really stand up."