Wednesday 5 February 2014

Mayor George Ferguson pledges to join One Billion Rising Bristol 2014!

5th February 2014: This Valentine’s Day, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson will once again join local organisation Bristol Rise and activists around the world for ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE. The campaign will build upon the energy and momentum that was created on 14th February last year, when hundreds of thousands of activists in 207 countries came together to rise, strike, and dance, in the biggest mass action in human history, to demand an end to violence against women and girls.

The ‘flashmob’ event on Friday 14th February will start with a dance at 3pm at Clifton Down Shopping Centre on Whiteladies Road. The parade will then travel down Whiteladies Road, past the triangle, and down Park Street to College Green where the Mayor will join them at 4pm. Bristol Rise would like to encourage the local community to join in and show their support for this important issue.
The Mayor addressing the crowd at One Billion Rising 2013

Bristol Rise was formed after the One Billion Rising event in 2013. “We’re really excited that Mayor George Ferguson will be dancing with us again!” said Martina Gilli, 24, secretary of Bristol Rise and resident of Bedminster. “And we hope that the city of Bristol will come out in full force to dance, walk, sing and protest with us”.
Bristol joins many other towns and cities across the UK in hosting this flashmob, including a large event in Trafalgar Square backed by the London Mayor Boris Johnson, in calling for change and dancing the signature One Billion Rising dance, “Break the Chain”
This year’s UK campaign is backed by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP, the Shadow Minister for Business Stella Creasy MP, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC as well as a host of celebrities including the actress Thandie Newton. 
Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “On 14th February, I will be proud to be amongst the one billion people rising up to say we no longer accept violence against women and girls. In the UK, two women a week are killed by a partner or an ex and one in five 999 calls are for domestic abuse. There’s growing violence in teenage relationships and too many women still face harassment and threats on the street or online. This must not continue. One Billion Rising is an opportunity for us all to stand up and demand action to keep women and girls safe.”

More Detailed Information about the flashmob event
The format for the event on 14th February will be:
·         A flashmob at Clifton Down shopping centre at 3pm, followed by marching and chanting down Whiteladies Road, past the triangle and down Park Street to College Green.
·         A second dance on College Green at 4pm. From there they will march across the centre of Bristol and up Corn Street to the Corn Exchange
·          A third dance outside the Corn Exchange at 4.30pm, followed by a  march back down Corn Street to the fountains on St Augustine’s Parade.
·         A fourth dance by the cascade steps at 4.45pm, followed by a final march down the waterfront and into Millennium Square by 5pm.
·         A final candlelit flashmob at 5.15pm in Millennium Square.

Reporters are welcome to come along to film and take photographs.

For media enquiries, more information, images and interviews, please email
Follow us on Twitter: @bristolrise @OBRUK_1; @VDay; #1billionrising; #rise4justice

More Detailed Information about the campaign
“This year, we will focus on the issue of justice for all survivors of gender violence” said Jodi Ahmed, 38, of Easton, and founder of Bristol Rise. Survivors like 38-year-old Bristol resident, Anna* (*name has been changed). Anna escaped from her abusive husband in 2013 and is currently fighting not only a custody battle for their son whom he has taken to live with his parents abroad, but also battling breast cancer.
Tragically, Anna’s tale is not unique. Stories like hers are commonplace in Britain and all over the world and the subject of gender violence is seldom far from the UK’s news headlines. Sex gangs, exploitation, female genital mutilation and online trolling have dominated the news agenda over the last year while incidents of domestic violence have risen by 7%.  According to statistics released in January 2013, approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year, and an additional 400,000 women are sexually assaulted.
Those gathered at the Bristol event will demand an end to such abuse and call for the modernisation of compulsory sex and relationship education in British schools. Specific calls to action for 2014 include:
·         Making Sex and Relationship Education compulsory in UK schools via amendments to the Children and Families Bill.
·         The repeal of visa laws that tie domestic workers to their employers and put them at serious risk of exploitation and abuse.
·         An end to the detention of women seeking asylum in the UK.

V-Day Founder and award winning playwright, Eve Ensler said: “In 2013, one billion rose around the world to end violence against women and girls in the biggest mass action in the history of the world. This year we are escalating and connecting the dots. We are rising for gender, economic, racial, and environmental Justice. We are rising and dancing with our bodies, to end the violations towards our bodies and the body of the earth.”

Lynne Franks, lead organiser of the UK campaign added, “It is a crucial time for London to be taking a leadership role in this major international campaign.  As a global hub, we have the opportunity to amplify the key messages of One Billion Rising from our event at Trafalgar Square to the rest of the world.”

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