I had the honor of organizing Port Angeles’ One Billion Rising Event with Extraordinary Women. One of my goals this year is to make connections, new friends, and find ways to strengthen my community – grow my tribe. I feel I am off to an excellent start.
I hadn’t heard of V-Day or One Billion Rising until less than 3 weeks prior to Valentine’s Day – the day of the big event. Immediately after I read the article that was posted by The Intelligent Optimist Magazine on Facebook, I shared it and tagged the amazing women that make up Thriving on the Olympic Peninsula and Stephanie which I met through one of their workshops. I was overjoyed by their enthusiasm and support in making this event happen. We immediately started brainstorming, coordinating, making phone calls, and doing whatever we could to make the event a huge success.
This experience has made me even more grateful to live in Port Angeles. I can’t even begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of compassion, inspiration, and support I experienced throughout the whole process. Downtown business owners were very supportive of the event and many gave gifts for our raffle. Our team received many thank yous and compliments for putting on an event for such a great cause.
We started off the evening with a little bit of music, then I kicked it off with a short welcome speech and passed the mic on to Kristin. She set the tone of the event with a heart centering exercise. I then shared my story of overcoming abuse, which brought a tear or two. I hoped to give the message to be open to giving support to others and for those in a bad situation, accepting that support. I was nervous, so I’m not sure my message was clear, but I know I touched a few hearts as I saw others shedding tears with me.
Then Mindy talked about how domestic violence can happen to anyone, even a bright, intelligent woman as herself and offered her support to anyone in need. Meghan shared a little bit about her background and then gave us a technique to be more aware of our surroundings. She teaches a women’s self-defense course, so her information was invaluable.
Becca from Healthy Families of Clallam County spoke about how common violence is. How it’s not just a female issue, but a human issue. Boys are being abused just as much as girls. One thing she said that was in line with my passion of helping parents and children was that children aren’t born abusers. They are made to be that way. Her words gave me more drive to try to help at the source of the problem. To help families maintain the strong positive connections to help children grow up and welcome healthy relationships. However, a family that is currently experiencing abuse is probably not likely to show up at an Attachment Parenting International of Port Angeles meeting, so I hope to reach these families in others ways and provide support and guidance however I can.
Once everyone finished their speeches, I kicked off the dancing by sharing some dance moves for those that may be struggling or shy. I shared my husband’s favorite finger dance and added a little more to it. Our DJ Cody from NightHawk Design – formerly known as The Rage Productions played a hip-shaking mix of music that had everyone on their feet and dancing the whole time.
We had the amazing women of Rosalie’s team dancing with scarves.
We counted around 75 dancers during the two hour period. Ages ranged from 12 months to 80 years old. It warmed my heart beyond belief to see the older women dancing with the young teens. Each generation sharing dance moves with the other. Our youth need this interaction more than they know and I hope to provide opportunities for these connections to happen again in the near future.
I hope that everyone who attended the event left feeling full of love, inspiration, and motivation to make life better – either for themselves or for someone else. I hope they left knowing in their hearts that there are many people in our community that want to support them in that endeavor, including me!
I was truly inspired and fulfilled by the event and I’m brainstorming about what to do next. <3