On Feb. 14, students and faculty took part in the One Billion Rising demonstration in the capital, as part of the V-Day activist movement that seeks to raise the public conscience to ending violence against women and girls.
Corine Frankland has taught multiple classes at SFUAD leading up to One Billion Rising. This past November, it was decided how the school would support the initiative and what that might look like for SFUAD. For V-Day, students designed t-shirts and pins for the event at the roundhouse, arriving hours ahead of time for set up.
“SFUAD students really took the initiative in terms of being the volunteers,” Frankland says. With a group of about 22 students helping with everything from tying arm bands to setting up the stage, everyone in attendance was ready for the public testimonials that began at 10:30 a.m. inside the rotunda. Student Sherylyn Jeffries was the first to speak.
“I was surprised by that standing ovation… I wound up looking at all of these women who were total strangers. And they got it. And then when I got through, the whole rotunda stood up,” Jeffries recalls.
Jeffries gives credit to both Frankland’s class and Dana Levin’s poetry class for the creation of what she shared. With both teacher’s support and guidance, and Jeffries’ bravery, the opening of the testimonials was a powerful moment, with everyone from fellow students to the police officers present left crying and touched. “That’s what V Day is about, is making sure that these stories are heard,” student Amy West says of her favorite portion of the day. As the morning went on, women and men continued to tell their stories to the audience that had gathered.
The rest of the day consisted of a rally outside the capitol building, complete with a dance for justice. This was followed by a march to the Railyard, where smaller groups participated in events such as meditation and counseling. That evening, activist Kate Reid performed a concert in O’Shaughnessy, surrounded by other work that Frankland’s class had done in support of One Billion Rising. Going forward, Frankland plans to continue supporting and spreading the movement.
“In the classes we reflect on what went well, what we would like to see,” Frankland says when asked about her plans. A student panel has been working with administrators of the school on having a clear protocol on how to handle a sexual assault and make the campus safer. Overall, the goal is to make students, both men and women, feel secure and welcome at SFUAD.