One Billion Rising in Second Life will once again be taking place in Second Life on Sunday, February 14th, 2021. As with previous years, the event opens at midnight SLT on Saturday, February 13th with entertainment and activities then running all the way through to midnight SLT on Sunday, February 14th.
When launched in the physical world on Valentine’s Day 2012, One Billion Rising (OBR) was the biggest mass action in human history; a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than one billion women and girls who are at risk. OBR aims to bring people together, raise greater awareness of the plight of those at risk the world over, and bring about a fundamental change in how vulnerable and defenceless women and girls are treated.
This year, the global movement takes as its theme Rising Gardens, which the organisers describe thus:
Over the years, One Billion Rising campaigns have brought deeper into focus the intersectional issues of poverty, the environment, economic violence and other factors that cause and sustain the continuing violence towards women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender based violence). One Billion Rising: Solidarity initiatives in 2018 continued to see other movements coming together to address the issue of how climate change and environmental plunder aggravate the situation of women, especially in developing countries and in poor communities around the world. People all over the world joined the Risings to demand and end to violence against women and girls, by looking at policies that pillage, devastate and destroy the environment in the name of “development”.
Within Second Life, the event follows this theme, presenting the usual four event regions as a series of gardens centred on the main event stage as it straddles the centres of all four regions, offering a place where up to 200 people can come together any any time during the event to join in with the music and dance. In the surrounding gardens, and linked to the central stage and one another by trails and paths, are the landing points (with information givers), art exhibits, gardens, and additional activity areas, such as the Poetry and Prose area and the #Me Too forest.
Artists participating in this year’s event include: 2Lei, Darkstone Aeon, Krystali Rabeni, Ilyra Chardin, Johannes Huntsman and Tempest Rosca, Jessamine2108, Fifi Oh, FionaFei, Lampithaler, Herbie Haven, Jennifer Steele, Daark Gothly, Patrick Ireland and Angela Thespian, and iSkye Silverweb. Their installations can be found around the outside edge of the four regions, with information available on each display available touching the sign board in front of each of them.
For the second year running OBR in Second Life also presents the I Rise Campaign. Earlier in the year, Second Life artists and photographers were invited to produce original images for display at OBR in SL 2021 (with the images also available on the Campaign’s Flickr group) in support the message of One Billion Rising: educating people about the plight of women, and which can include references to personal experiences. As such, some of them may be uncomfortable for those who have themselves been victims of violence – if this is the case, they are asked to reach out to event organisers if they feel they need support.
In addition, the four corners of the OBR estate offer elevated park areas providing elevated views across the regions, while the #MeToo Forest forms a place of retreat and meditation / contemplation, whilst the Heroes’ Pavilion features inspirational stories about women from many different cultures and communities.
Also, this year’s event continues with the themes of poetry and the spoken word as seen in past events in Second Life. The poetry sessions will take place between 14:00 and 15:00 SLT and 16:00 and 17:00 SLT, with recitals by selected readers. Between them, at 15:00 through 16:00 SLT, Seanchai Library will read poems and short prose to celebrate and honour women, while between 17:00 and 18:00 the microphone will be open to anyone to offer a reading in keeping with the themes of the event.
And if this weren’t enough, also on-hand during the 24 hours will be three of Second Life’s top dance and performance groups:
- 10:00-11:00 SLT – The ChangHigh Trinity Sisters present Fireshow of Light, Life, & Love.
- 17:30 – Misfit Dance & Performance Art.
- 19:00 – Guerilla Burlesque.
At 13:00, the Second Life Cheerleaders will provide a display, while at 14:00, there will be an interactive dance session with Cordie.
The full schedule of events is now available, covering all live performers, DJs, dance performances and poetry, and further information on the music entertainment acts can be found here and here, and information on those presenting the spoken word can be found here.
A critique sometimes levelled at OBR / OBR in SL is that the issues it raises cannot be solved by dance. Well, that’s absolutely true, just as marching through the streets carrying placards and banners is unlikely to have a lasting impact on whatever it is people might be marching about.
But – like marches and protests – dance and music does serve to draw attention to matters. It provides a means by which people are encouraged to stop and think, while also providing a focal point of attention that allows information and ideas to be disseminated. What’s also important is that it’s a lot harder to see dancing as a threat than might be the case with an organised march or protest – something to take into consideration given there are countries where the right to march or protest freely does not exist. Hence why, as well, OBR in Second Life is marked each year with a dance video to the OBR theme song.