Hosted by 2nd Chance, an advocacy group for victims of domestic violence, the events in Jacksonville and Anniston will coincide with One Billion Rising, a grassroots initiative that has spawned protest events in 203 nations.
The worldwide event is sponsored by the V-Day Foundation, a nonprofit that works to cut through the silence surrounding rape and abuse and end violence against women and girls.
One Billion Rising grew out of a United Nations statistic that estimates one in three women will experience violence in her lifetime. Given the current global population, that translates to more than 1 billion women.
Cathryn Swan, a New York-based coordinator for the One Billion Rising initiative, said the figure is likely a conservative estimate.
For Swan and other organizers of the global initiative, the grassroots response from across the world has been overwhelming.
“It makes you realize just how different parts of the world are,” she said, “and how amazing it is that we can all align.”
The two Calhoun County events are among 14 events scattered throughout the state Thursday, beginning in Jacksonville at 10 a.m. and wrapping up in Huntsville with Rising at The Foyer at 7 p.m.
According to Trace Fleming-Smith, an advocate with 2nd Chance, both of the local events will feature monologues, dancing and other celebrations to empower women and men and raise awareness about this often-silent problem. Anniston Yoga Studio and JW Fitness Crew will lead yoga and Zumba, respectively, at both locations.
The first event, beginning at 10 a.m., will take place at the Jacksonville State University Amphitheater and will include members of the JSU faculty and student groups such as the JSU Social Work Club, Women’s Issues Support and Empowerment, and the campus chapter of the NAACP.
Previously scheduled for the lawn of the Theron Montgomery Building, the event was moved due to weather earlier this week.
In Anniston, activists, feminists, anti-violence advocates and representatives of organizations such as the West Anniston Foundation will gather at the Anniston Yoga Studio at 905 Noble St. at 12:30 p.m.
Fleming-Smith emphasized that the event is not just for women.
Sean Creech, a volunteer with 2nd Chance who has helped publicize Thursday’s events, said he is involved with the effort because of the sheer volume of incidents of domestic violence he has seen, both reported and unreported.
“Often,” he said, it’s “not talked about, and it needs to be talked about.”
For more information, find One Billion Rising-Northeast Alabama on Facebook at facebook.com/OneBillionRisingNEAL.
Staff writer Paige Rentz: 256-235-3564. On Twitter @PRentz_Star.