Friday evening, Valentine's Day 2014, women and men from all over the city convened at Parkview Field to show their support for victims of violence and abuse. This is the second year for Fort Wayne's participation in the global movement, "One Billion Rising" to raise awareness, and provide support for those who are suffering, or who have suffered in the past from mistreatment.
According to a UN statistic, one in three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, or about one billion women. With warm smiles and encouraging tapping of feet from the audience, pink, red and purple clad dancers twirled along with the music in unity, with shirts proclaiming: "I AM 1 Billion."
"We are the one billion, but we are the one billion, RISING," clarified NewsChannel 15's anchor Terra Brantley, who emceed the event.
"The message is that we are all in this together, and not only that violence and abuse affects so many women and girls, and men and boys, but that collectively we have to power to make a positive change. Violence and abuse is not an inevitable part of life, it 's something that's learned and it's something that we can unlearn. And the first step to doing that is coming all together, spreading the message, spreading education and spreading healing and love, like we are today," volunteer organizer Lori Rose explained the mission.
Although temperatures were in the low 20s, and the event had to be held under the concourse (unlike in the stands last year), Fort Wayners bundled up and braved the elements and took a stand.
Lori Rose and Terra Brantley
Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards
Police Chief Garry Hamilton and Terra Brantley
Thank you ladies for your voices. (Lori Rose, Karen Richards and Terra Brantley)
Das Fort stands up for justice!
Photos and Video by Tony Frantz