Today we rise in honor of all women and girls who have faced violence the world over. We are one billion rising. Stand up, speak out, dance, sing, write, tell your stories, and celebrate!
As part of this celebration and uprising, we invited one of our cast members to contribute a poem responding to the One Billion Rising movement. Enjoy her work and reflection below, and join the rising.
WHY I RISE?
A poem by Leah Taylor
Rising is a notion.
It is a movement.
It is more than just a verb or motion.
It is a way of life.
A process in where voices are heard,
And hearts are uplifted.
Stories are told,
And souls are moved.
And tears are shed.
Stories begin to unfold
And truths are told.
When winds blow and feet shuffle to run forward.
Forward towards the light of change.
Forward towards the unchained breaths of freedom that were once unreachable.
Forward towards women empowerment and strengthening arms,
Arms that reach for one another to pull people from all across the world, promoting Diversity and Equality!
Arms reaching for love that once was never there.
Arms reaching for you and me,
For children who couldn’t see nor speak.
For their voices are ringing and calling out for us to reach the fallen and deserted.
The stumbles and falls that once had us bound by our assaulters and abusers.
For no longer will the power lie in their hands.
But now we will RISE.
RISE with revitalizing power, and Dignity.
To reclaim our Beauty which forever shined in us and around us.
Now is the time to lift our hands and feet.
Raise our Voices, and let our words be heard.
Now is the time…
That we must…
I wrote this poem, which is a piece that spoke to me… one night after rehearsal for the play, The Vagina Monologues. As I was reminiscing on the powerful experience from each rehearsal of the play, my thoughts, emotions, and beliefs began to intersect and this poem is what spewed out of my soul.
I believe in equality. I believe in art. For I am an artist, and art surrounds us all. It is what we breathe and live. The promotion of art and using my voice to speak up against violence against women, and using poetry as a form of empowerment to encourage and influence women all of the world fulfills something inside of me. I have utilized poetry to promote the arts and to voice my ideals and beliefs on various topics pertaining to human diversity, awareness of domestic violence, importance of spirituality, prevention of sexual assault, and other important conflicts that continue to arise in today’s society. I am an advocate for young women and young children, especially those who cannot speak, who cannot tell their story. I am their voice! For through various forms of art and artists—through poets, painters, dancers, musicians, actors, singers, etc.—we as women can grow and utilize our many talents to embrace our differences, support each other, share our unique and powerful stories, stand up against discrimination, sexism, racism, and all the barriers that try to prevent us from becoming the empowered, strong, and beautiful women that we were are called to be.
The Vagina Monologues is a play that every women should see and experience. It is more than a play, it is a movement that is bigger than us, bigger than the actors, bigger that audience. It is a powerful movement of women taking steps towards change. Now is the time for us to unify and take a stand. In all of us lies greatness and uniqueness. I will stand for the rights of women. I will stand for abused young children. I will stand for the fallen. I will RISE! Will you?