Written by Ashley Johnson, '13
Writing Intern for the Office of Communications

On Thursday, Feb. 14, students and members of the Gender Equity Center gathered on Kellogg Plaza to protest gender violence in an empowering and lively flash mob as part of the worldwide movement One Billion Rising. The event served as an opportunity to raise awareness on campus.

“It’s important that we as a community stand together, men and women, to speak out against violence against women and take a stand that it will not be tolerated around the world or on our campus,” said Lea Burgess-Carland, director of the ASI Gender Equity Center.

The One Billion Rising movement, which involved over 200 countries worldwide, was founded by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler as a call for people to “strike, rise and dance” for women’s rights.

At CSUSM student organizers hoped the event would increase awareness and help provide a positive environment where women can feel free to be themselves and let their voice be heard by dancing and taking up space on Kellogg Plaza in an empowering protest against gender violence.

“Gender violence is something that a lot of women have experienced,” said Burgess-Carland. “Women are assaulted every second of every day, not only around the world, but to people we know and love in our own communities.”

Formerly the Women’s Center, the Gender Equity Center focuses on serving students, combating gender oppression and creating safe, affirming learning communities for all through education, programming, advocacy and a social space.

Part of creating that inclusive community is bringing awareness to issues of gender violence, said Raven Gates, the gender violence prevention educator at the Gender Equity Center.

“This was a way for women to reclaim what’s already ours,” she said. “I was excited to see everyone get involved; it’s not just a woman’s issue. Men and women alike were taking a stand against gender violence and that is something that blows my mind. I’m just so happy that people were excited to take this stand.”

“Events like One Billion Rising are opportunities for our campus to come together and promote inclusiveness,” added Burgess-Carland. “We’re taking a stand about what kind of campus we want CSUSM to be, as well as saying that we want a world where everyone is treated equally and is celebrated for exactly who they are.”

Learn more about upcoming events, advocacy opportunities and resources at the Gender Equity Center.

“Events like One Billion Rising are opportunities for our campus to come together and promote inclusiveness,” added Burgess-Carland. “We’re taking a stand about what kind of campus we want CSUSM to be, as well as saying that we want a world where everyone is treated equally and is celebrated for exactly who they are.”