About two weeks ago, I sat in my room browsing through the One Billion Rising website, hoping to find a V-Day event I could attend on February 14th. Yes, it was Valentine’s Day. No, I wasn’t looking for a Valentine’s Day event. V Day is a day of victory, celebration and solidarity with all victims and survivors of Violence Against Women. It is a global day of action to call for solutions to this problem and work towards creating a better, safer world for women and girls. You’ll get more information on their website.
My search yielded no results, for the second year in a row. The nearest event was in Spain and it was completely impossible for me to make it there. To keep it short, I went from wondering why there was no event in Morocco to drafting a plan for one. Due to certain conditions, I couldn’t host a physical event. However, my recent post on three years of blogging reminded me that I had an online platform I could use for this. I also took cue from my participation in the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. I had a great online presence and Linguere could definitely host a One Billion Rising event. About five days to the day, Rise With Linguere was born.
I sent out a mini-survey question on Twitter to see if people would be willing to participate and the response was great. I shared the idea with a few close ones and cooked up a flyer that night before going to sleep. The response grew the next day and the campaign was already taking form. Excitement built up and within two days, I had three amazing ladies offering to help me run it. These, apart from the ones that shared ideas, helped in promoting the campaign and just being there to offer moral support. Word went round and the team was ready.
I’ll have to confess that we didn’t expect the response we got for the Rise With Linguere campaign. What was supposed to be a day’s event eventually ran for five days, including the two days after V Day. Work came in and sleep, food and rest went out. There were peak moments when the team was completely overwhelmed by the amount of submissions we had to deal with at a time and stress levels ran high. Our Facebook message thread was quite fun to read after we closed the campaign. However, it was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done and I’m sure I’ll do no wrong if I said the same for my teammates too.
At the time of closing the campaign, which got very emotional for us, we had created both Facebook and Instagram pages and posted all the submissions we had received/saw.
Within 5 days, we received over 275 photos from 20 countries around the world; a manifestation of our unity and recognition of our collective responsibility to end Violence Against Women . Each photo conveyed a message, taking a stand against one form of violence that women and girls go through. We sought to raise awareness about VAW and encourage more action in this regard. The participation was very symbolic and reaffirms that there is strength in numbers and we can indeed make a change when we come together!
That phase of the campaign has ended but for us, everyday is a day to rise to end the injustices against women and girls. The hope is that we translate the powerful messages into action, starting from somewhere as near as our homes, spreading out to the streets, schools, offices and other public places. One little action can make a great difference. Our tiny steps will lead us to a great place where fairness, equality, equity, love and respect reign. We chose to ignore comments aimed at devaluing the campaign and watering down the significance of getting people together for a cause. The response we got, spoke for us and showed that, indeed, we could – and had – made a difference by getting people to talk about these issues. Every act from thinking up a message and writing it down, to taking a photo and sending it to us meant a lot.
We’ve sent out gratitude posts to the many participants who made this campaign successful. I’ll go on to thank my teammates Haddijatou Ceesay, Ndey Ngoneh Jeng and Mariam Camara. Without these amazing ladies and their incredible resourcefulness, sacrifice and readiness to work, the story would have been different. I can’t thank them enough, but I am comforted with the knowledge that they don’t need to be thanked for doing what they felt they had to do. Mother’s blessings and encouragement sealed the deal for us too. Many thanks to everyone who helped out in any way, to those who offered to help with any other projects we come up with, to those who mobilized groups and sent us lots of photos. It was all amazing!
Finally, special thanks to Mine for accepting this new way of spending Valentine’s. No complaints, much support and encouragement, and reminders of the task at hand and what it meant. I couldn’t ask for a better gift. Thank you.