One Billion Rising

We are delighted to host this blog from Órla McKay, an Assumption Grammar School – Ballynahinch pupil spending a week on work experience with Amnesty International. Here she highlights the great speech given by Kellie Turtle of the Belfast Feminist Network at the RightsNI Live event in December and previews the One Billion Rising campaign events being held in Belfast tomorrow, St Valentine’s Day.

Kellie Turtle depicts the story of the radical women of the Ulster Suffragettes movement and their extreme acts of criminal defiance. She stands in the revamped former Crumlin Road Gaol where these women were remanded for their political activism.

One hundred years on, has the world, which the Suffragettes women so desperately campaigned for, materialised?

Despite the major milestones that have been made in equality for women, with one in three women on the planet being raped or beaten in her lifetime it would be extremely naïve to accept that gender equality has been eradicated in the century since the deaths of Ulster Suffragettes such as Madge Muir.

This week many men and women celebrate Valentine’s Day, a day where love for one another is given special recognition. But it can also be something more.

This Valentine’s Day marks the 15th anniversary of “V-day,” a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-day is inviting one billion men and women to rise up, dance and demand an end to the unthinkable but very harsh reality of the violence experienced by our mothers, daughters, sisters, partners and friends each and every day.

Eve Ensler, the award winning playwright and performer, co-founded V-day. She has devoted her life to stopping violence, envisioning a planet in which women and girls will be free to thrive, rather than merely survive.

Help Eve make her desires a reality by supporting this incredible worldwide movement by joining an existing event here in Northern Ireland. To mark the day there will be two ‘flash mob’ events in Belfast.

The daytime event is at Stormont at 12.30pm and is hosted by OFMDFM Junior Minister Jennifer McCann. Organisers are hoping to get as many MLAs involved as possible, as well as getting the Assembly staff in on the action too.

The evening event is a public gathering outside City Hall at 7pm, intended to catch the late night shoppers after work. The flash mob dance has been specially choreographed which is sure to catch the eyes of passers-by drawing their attention to the main aims of the campaign. 

Follow the V-day One Billion rising website for more information on how you can stage your own rising or join an existing event near you.

Will you be apart of the one billion rising up to say no to violence against women?