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La Luz Will Focus on Violence Against Women, on Valentine's Day

It's part of the global One Billion Rising campaign.

On Valentine's Day, some people around the globe will highlight the high incidence of women who are raped or beaten, as part of the One Billion Rising campaign. The campaign is an international movement spurred by Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues, to end violence in all its forms.

People are invited to rise up and dance on Thursday to draw attention to the worldwide problem of abuse of women.

Why dance?

"It's dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive," according to the campaign's website. "It breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere at anytime with anyone and everyone. It's free. No corporation can control it. It joins us and pushes us to go further. It's contagious and it spreads quickly. It's of the body. It's transcendent."

One woman in three on the planet will be raped or beaten in her life, according to V-Day's website, quoting the United Nations.

"One billion women violated is an atrocity. One billion dancing is a revolution," it states.

La Luz Center in Sonoma is collaborating with the One Billion Rising campaign. On Thursday, the non-profit organization will host representatives of the Mexican Consulate and Sheriff's Department to educate the public about reporting violent crimes.

"The Consulate will give information about how to report sexual assault, domestic violence and sex trafficking," Maricarmen Reyes told Patch. "The Consulate can help with temporary work permits and sometimes it provides financial aid for victims, such as attorney's fees."

La Luz Center provides English language and computer training, distributes food, hosts medical services, offers crisis counseling and supports events that celebrate Sonoma Valley's multicultural community, according to its website. The center is at 17560 Greger St.

Thursday's event at the center will be from noon until 2 p.m. People will make hearts with messages speaking out against violence to be posted on a board and they will share music and appetizers together. For more information, call 707-938-5131.

The One Billion Rising event also is expected to draw hundreds of women into downtown Santa Rosa on Thursday for a dance flash mob to end violence against women and girls. The action is one of thousands planned around the world. Actions are planned in Petaluma, Healdsburg and Sebastopol at various times throughout the day. 

In Santa Rosa, women and children of all ages and backgrounds will gather in Old Courthouse Square at 5 p.m. to walk to a nearby location and perform a song and dance flash mob to "Break the Chains,” first in English and then in Spanish. Men will stand by in solidarity and support, forming a semi-circle around the dancers and singing with the women lyrics that include, "I can see a world where we all live safe and free from all oppression. No more rape or incest or abuse; women are not a possession.”

One local organizer, Julie Rachanna Chasen, says "Planning for the Santa Rosa action began only two weeks ago, but the enthusiasm and excitement has spread like wildfire, and a powerful movement has developed that will continue way beyond Feb. 14th".

The international One Billion Rising has spread to include 200 countries as of Monday; it is Eve Ensler's goal that by Thursday, every country in the world will be signed up to participate.

Ensler says "More than 1 out of every 3 women on this planet will experience violence during her lifetime. With 7 billion people on the planet, that's one billion women. One Billion Rising is a global strike, a call to refuse to participate until rape and rape culture ends. It's a solidarity reach. Dance joins us and pushes us to go further, and that is why it's at the center of One Billion Rising."

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