Today isn’t just about hearts and flowers. Members of the Filipino-American group “Pin@y sa Seattle” are using this day to empower women all over the world.
It’s part of the “One Billion Rising” campaign, which refers to the United Nations statistic that about one billion women will be raped, beaten or abused in her lifetime.
Jill Mangaliman says girls as young as ten have been practicing for more than a year to perform a musical message of empowerment.
“The idea is that on VDay, 1 billion people rise up against violence against women, highlight this issue and talk about it with our communities,” says Mangaliman.
The dance they’re working on is being done all over the world. It was choreographed by the group “Gabriella,” a women’s empowerment organization based in the Philippines.
Even though they call America their home, Mangaliman says Filipinos here still feel a close connection to their roots in the Philippines and the violence suffered by the women there.
So, as they teach their girls the VDay dance, they’re also talking with them about the exploitation of women.
“There’s a lot of shame that’s tied to violence,” says Mangaliman. “We want to find a way that’s empowering that people can start to talk about these things that are so important. How do we stop it if we can’t even talk about it?”
This isn’t the first year Pin@y sa Seattle’s been involved in VDay demonstrations. They danced last year at Westlake Center in Seattle.
This year they’re dancing at SouthCenter Mall in Tukwila. Mangaliman says that’s were more members of the Filipino community tend to gather.
About 30 women and girls are performing tonight. The younger members of the group have also written a couple of chants they plan to perform.