Students and community turnout to protest violence against women

People around the world gathered in their respective cities to protest violence against women. Through the organization One Billion Rising, people raised awareness about violence against women through dancing and flash mobs. Protesters dance to raise awareness about violence against women and then proceed to lobby a government official. Each city comes up with its own set of demands that it feels are not being met within its community.

This year, Portland had its second annual One Billion Rising protest. The protest started in Holiday Park and then marched to Pioneer Square. At Pioneer Square there was a scheduled flash mob which was then followed by speakers. Later, community members marched on to The First Congregational Church on Park Avenue for a reception.

The focus of the Portland One Billion Rising effort was to put an end to child abuse and sex trafficking. According to one of the speakers at Pioneer Square, 500 children in Portland are victims of sex trafficking. Members wrote down the requests that they had for government officials and handed them in as part of their protest.

Although One Billion Rising has only been around for a year, it is traditionally a widely attended event across the country. However, upon arrival at Pioneer Square, there seemed to be only a handful of protestors huddled in a small group. When the music began, about 20 or so people started to dance the choreographed “flash mob” dance. Lewis & Clark students who did not know the dance attempted to join in. After the dancing was finished, people gathered in a small group to listen to speakers talk about why it is important to protest violence against women.

Lewis & Clark student Julie Jacobs (’16) from Lewis & Clark’s Amnesty International spoke about lobbying a local Oregon senator last fall to support the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). “IVAWA is basically an act that ensures that US foreign aid money is going to cementing programs so that women in other countries are not victims of violence and sex trafficking.” Jacobs said. Jacobs urged protesters to lobby their senators to support IVAWA.

After Jacobs spoke, other speakers took the stage, including Matt, a passerby who had no idea what he was protesting, but who lead the group in a prayer about peace. The group then readied itself to march on to the First Congregational Church, the final stop on its protest. At this point, the majority of Lewis & Clark students that were in attendance decided to forgo the march to the church in order to catch the Pio home.


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