On February 14th 2017, hundreds of people gathered together in Downtown Visalia at the Garden Street Plaza to participate in the One Billion Rising march which was for solidarity against exploitation of women. The people participating in this event ranged from women, men, teens, and children of all ages gathering together. This event featured drummers, speakers, singers, and information booths such as Visalia PD, Planned Parenthood, ACT for women and girls, and more.
This campaign helps raise awareness by marching in over 207 countries while also using statistics such as that 1 in 3 women on this planet will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. A couple of Rangers actually had the opportunity to come out and participate in this event. Jessica Lopez, ‘19, said she thought the event was really empowering and a great way to spread awareness for domestic violence. Lopez’s favorite part about the event was the march because she felt that her and the other’s voices were being heard. She also felt that this event will make people more aware of domestic violence happening and will help them get involved to finally end it. She also says, “This event changed me as a person because hearing people’s stories and knowing others are suffering out there because of domestic violence makes me more passionate and empowers me to help make a change and put an end to domestic violence.”
New and returning marchers feel that the event is overall amazing and feel as though it is really making a difference and raising awareness in the community. Leslie Diaz, ‘17, said she loves the feeling of people coming together and feeling so passionately about an issue, it is also great to see others drive by and raise their fist in support. This is Diaz’s second year attending the march and it’s touched her every time. Diaz’s favorite part about the event was handing out pink and red carnations to people in the streets. She feels that this event informs others about these real life issues and hits home to some that have been affected by it and it just gets them to see that there is really help out there. She also says, “I feel like every event I go to changes me. It is inspiring to see people of all ages come together and share their voices for an important cause.”
Besides the march and speakers at the event, there was also many information booths and one of them involved Redwood’s very own U.S History teacher, Mr. Cazares. The informational booth is an activist group that he is involved with called P.U.S.H – Progressives United for Social Justice of Human Rights, they were there to advocate for getting people involved in the community. Cazares says they are a group that works throughout the Central Valley including Fresno County, Kings County, and they were just trying to get people active. Cazares says his favorite part of the event was having the speakers share their stories, especially the one about the women that lost someone close to her due to domestic violence because it really touched him. Cazares also says “I was already aware about a lot of the domestic violence that happens in our county but this event showed me how intimate it could be for some people and how open they were to sharing those experiences.” Cazares says that he is hoping to return to the event again next year.