It was obvious that the “One Billion Rising” event was destined to be the culmination of a wave of awareness that was sweeping the world concerning violence against women and girls, and in many cases men and boys. While the victims fought and the voices shouted, it was the media that would ultimately be the ones to spread the word of the new dawning. Our local media, mayor and commissioners were outstanding in updating information and embracing the significance of One Billion Rising as the target day drew near.
Organizer Lori Keys and her loyal “dancing machines” led the hundreds of attendees using dance as the voice of solidarity. If you were hiding in fear when you arrived, you were certainly shouting from the rooftops as you left with a new belief that there is still hope. To rally and then walk away is what yesterdays were all about. Today, there are several sources for help and support, and, as you saw at Parkview Field, there is an army of supporters willing to rally behind you.
News outlets from all over our area converged on the Rising to show that compassion, support and determination were very much alive in Fort Wayne and that domestic violence, rape and bullying will no longer hide in the shadows. The horrific numbers have been shown, the deaths, tears and cries have been heard and now, “The fight is on.”
Thanks to Terra Brantley for sharing her story with so many friends she had never met. To all of the reporters, videographers, photographers who opened their hearts and relayed the excitement, hope and beautiful emotions of the crowd, to the public. Parkview Field never charged a penny and was behind the event 100 percent.
But probably the most outstanding cheers go to Keys and the dynamic women and men who practiced their dance steps at 8 p.m. in the Central “Y” after school, work, after the kids went to bed and even on lunch break. The ones who planned the events, produced and danced in the “Flash Mobs” and on “V” Day, they danced their hearts out, leading the hundreds in support of victims and empowering those who refuse to become victims. As citizens, we thank all of you for enabling the hundreds of us to help become part of the answer. “And the fight goes on.”
Jerry and Linda Vandeveer