By Laura Turner Seydel

Stopping the Violence Against Women, Girls & Mother Earth

This Valentine’s Day, join me and thousands of your fellow Atlantans to strike, dance and rise up against violence against girls, women and the planet and make our home a rape and violence free zone.

V-Day (vday.org) is a non-profit that is doing important work to stop violence against women and girls, and even against Mother Earth. On Feb. 14, join up with people around the world for One Billion Rising (OBR), a series of events organized to draw attention to these atrocities and, we hope, one day end them.

OBR is a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this is more than one billion women and girls.

The organization was started by Eve Ensler, who has inspired me, and so many other women around the world, into action. Her play, The Vagina Monologues, is performed the world over (there are nearly 3,000 productions annually) to raise critical funding for her cause. The board of her non-profit boasts dynamic women leaders, including my mother-in-law, Pat Mitchell, my stepmother Jane Fonda, and superstar Anne Hathaway, who was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine and interviewed by Ensler.

Ensler recently received an award from Global Green USA, for her work on V-World, a sustainable farm that provides support and opportunities for female survivors of sexual violence in the Congo. She has made an important connection, one that is important for us all to understand: If we continue to abuse the natural systems that support all life, how can women and girls have opportunities where they can live and thrive?

Here in Atlanta, we’re gathering on Valentine’s Day for a day of action in various places around the city. Meet us on the steps of the capitol at 10 a.m., where we’ll hear from speakers and elected officials and deliver a call to action to our local legislators. Then, at noon, there will be a choreographed dance in Woodruff Park. On the website, the choreographer, Debbie Allen, has set up a how-to so everyone can learn the dance and join us! And an interactive art installation will be put in place in Freedom Park on Moreland Avenue. For more information, visit onebillionrisingatlanta.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.