MANILA, Philippines – It’s no ordinary Valentine’s Day for Bryan Gonzales, a freshmen journalism student in the University of the Philippines. No fancy dates, not even hangouts with friends. Instead, he joined students and community members who converged in front of the UP Oblation Statue in Diliman, Quezon City, to dance in unison to call for justice in the annual One Billion Rising.
Gonzales is one of the V-Men in the university, men who support women’s campaign for social justice.
Together with other V-Men, Bryan Gonzales tried to dance to the steps of the One Billion Rising dance. As the music came to a close, everyone raised their hands and looked at the sun-lit sky as shouts and cheers burst from the crowd.
Gonzales believed that this day is not just a day for women. It is a day to rise above the injustices in the country whatever your gender may be. (READ: V-Day protest)
“Lalaki man o babae, pantay-pantay ang responsibilidad natin sa lipunan,” he said. (Men and women are all equal in society.)
One Billion Rising is a worldwide campaign celebrated in over 200 countries to end violence against women, promote justice and gender equality. Now on its second year, the campaign calls for not only women empowerment but for justice for different sectors facing several issues like the famers, workers, and students.
Gonzales noticed how different the campaign is this year.
“Mas malawak ang tema ng ating programa ngayon kasi hindi lang issue ng kababaihan ang ating pinaglalaban, pati na rin ang malawak na hanay na nakakarananas ng mga kawalang hustisya,” he said (Our theme this year is broader since it goes beyond women’s rights; it includes victims of injustice.)
Gerry Lanuza, a professor from the university, spoke of how women today are fully engaged in making history. “The new Filipina, is first and foremost, a militant,” Lanuza said, quoting Free Movement of New Women founder Lorena Barros.
“No longer is she a woman of marriage, but a woman for action,” he added.
He also stressed how important for V-Men all around the world to support the plight of the women. “Hindi mo na kailangan maging kamukha ni John Lloyd, para mahalin ng kababaihan, kailangan lang natin makiisa,” Lanuza said.
Lanuza and Gonzales are but some of the V-Men who bravely wore a pink laces on their heads as a sign of support to millions of women around the globe fighting for equal rights. – Rappler.com