Feb. 14 program includes, speakers, dance, music, performance, all striving to raise awareness and end violence
By Debora Gordon for Ashland.news
Inspired by the work of the former Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues” who went on to found “V-Day” and the One Billion Rising movement, Ashlander Lynne Pethtel is organizing “Break the Chain of Violence,” an evening of music and dance performances and a debut performance on Feb. 14.
Pethtel, an Ashland resident, said she has always had a passion for social justice as expressed through music, and was inspired to go forward with this event after learning about V-Day Rising. V-Day was founded in 2012 by V (formerly Eve Ensler) to raise awareness and end violence against women.
A 30-year founding member of Women Making Music, a nonprofit in Northern California, Pethtel organized Ashland’s V-Day event in February 2020. After a COVID-19-induced hiatus, Break the Chain will return this Valentine’s Day.
This event is designed to bring people together in dance and song, focusing awareness on the violence experienced by women and girls, whether they be cisgender, transgender, gender non-conforming, BIPOC, Jewish, Asian, in poverty or otherwise marginalized in the community.
“We connect through all of our diversity and our marginalized communities,” Pethtel said. “We can grow stronger when people come together in solidarity; healing can occur. We have a connection with the diversity of our community rooted in love, inclusion, solidarity, celebration.”
V-Day has now grown into a global grassroots organization called One Billion Rising, a reference to the estimated number of women across the planet who will be beaten or raped during their lifetime.
The public is welcome to join together in Ashland in solidarity with the many other actions around the world that will be held on that day to create a joyful, creative celebration of diversity and express solidarity by denouncing the violence that many marginalized community members experience.
The event will include the community flash mob dance protesting domestic violence; as well as music, speakers and educational booths.
Marta Quest and a drumming circle of women will start the evening off, followed by Lisa Ebony, who will sing “Say Her Name.” Ebony is the leader of the Ashland BIPoC Sanctuary and co-host of shows on Ashland’s local community radio station KSKQ, including The Chop Shop and Friday nights music show, The Music That Makes Us.
Dr. Louise Paré, global women’s spirituality educator and author, will speak about the current situation of Ukrainian women and girls regarding human and sex trafficking.
Alicia Gerrity, the Southern Oregon University student body president, will debut “BODYlogues,” which addresses systems of privilege, hierarchies of power, societal mistreatment of bodies, and the expectations placed upon them.
The Women With Wings choir and the Holy Misfits will sing.
Educational booths will include Community Works Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Sex Trafficking Resource Center; SART (the Sexual Assault Response Team); SOPride and “Breaking Trafficking Traps” in Ukraine. Jackson County library offer a sampling of books reflective of diversity and inclusion.
The event is open to the public. It’s scheduled to run from 6 to 8 pm. Tuesday, Feb. 14, in Wesley Hall at the First United Methodist Church at 175 N. Main St., Ashland.
Donations will be accepted. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debora Gordon is a writer, artist, educator and non-violence activist who recently moved to Ashland from Oakland, California. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at email@example.com or call or text him at 541-631-1313.
Feb. 10 update: Opening paragraph changed to better reflect event organizer’s motivations.