Artists, authors, poets, and singers gathered in Washington Square Park on Tuesday night to share their creativity with New Yorkers at a special Valentine’s Day rally in solidarity against the exploitation of women.
The “NYC Artistic Uprising” was part of a worldwide day of action called by the One Billion Rising campaign. Thirty-four artists and speakers made appearances, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham and Tony Award-winning playwright Eve Ensler.
Several hundred New Yorkers attended the open air event, a number carrying placards stating opposition to President Trump and proclaiming New York as a city of love and joy.
Alixa Garcia, one half of spoken word duo Climbing Poetree, told the crowd that the resistance would triumph because “Our story is sexier than theirs and our narrative is stronger and far more beautiful.”
Actor Ally Sheedy, one of the stars of the The Breakfast Club, recited Ensler’s poem My Short Skirt, a piece on women’s liberation and female sexuality.
She was followed by spoken word poet Staceyann Chin, who debuted an original work on her state of mind in the Trump era:
“Under the gun of what the world has become – what has become normal under the cracks of humanity devolving – we are showcasing our worst inclinations under the brutality of a brand of discrimination we thought we had pushed underground decades ago. We are again being asked to define what love is, what it should be now, today, in this moment of great sorrow and oppression.
“What is love to you? What will you do under this administration that would rather girls lay down under the cruel desires of a small-handed man? What will you do as girls are again silenced as we attempt to survive the glare of this orange-headed creature?”
The One Billion Rising campaign launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, its name inspired by the statistic that one in three women will be beaten or raped in their lifetimes. Each Valentine’s Day since the campaign has led a day of action to end violence against women.
This year’s campaign focus is on the exploitation of women and girls, highlighting how women are “abused in multiple ways across layers of exploitation and oppression.”