One Billion Rising

Jamie Heap
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Amherst rises up for justice for victims of violent crimes

AMHERST-A large crowd consisting of men and women of all ages did their part on March 8 to rise up for justice against violent crimes committed against women.

“I didn’t know how many young people would be here today, but I am pleased with the number that are,” said Autumn House child and youth coordinator Christina Cameron. “I get excited when we do things like this.”

Master of ceremonies Tom Wood of the Amherst Police Department turned the floor over to Autumn House executive Terry Cove once people made their way inside Amherst Town Hall. People were encouraged to make lots of noise as they marched from the YMCA to Town Hall as a means of rising up against violence.

“This is the second annual One Billion Rising Day,” stated Cove. “On February 14, people rose up in support of the victims of violence. We rise up today in places of power, like town hall, where women are still under represented. We rise up for victims of the human sex trade, for victims of sexual violence, in work places and in schools where they are bullied. We rise up against attempt murder charges that can be plead down to simple assault. We rise up for Amber Kirwan, Rehtaeh Parsons and most recently Loretta Saunders, and so many more. Let us rise up with men who stand up to other men who treat their partners in a violent way.”

Following Cove’s speech, Amherst Deputy Mayor Lisa Emery, the only politician in attendance, read and signed the One Billion Rising Proclamation, declaring March 8, 2014 as ‘One Billion Rising For Justice, Rise Up for Amherst Day.’

“One Billion Rising is a global call to action to end violence against women and children,” said Emery. “It does not distinguish between class, race, age or locality. Although the particular form of violence may vary from culture to culture, many women spend most of their lives recovering from, resisting, or surviving violence rather than creating and thriving. Locally, the One Billion Rising committee is working to raise awareness and help prevent violence against women.”

The local One Billion Rising committee, which consists of Amherst Police Department Constable Michelle Harrison;  Autumn House’s Ruth Currie, Teri-Lynn LeBlanc, Christina Cameron, Theresa Halfkenny; NSCC’s Darlene Porter and Northern Domestic Violence Coordinator of the RCMP, Lydia Quinn, were acknowledged by fellow committee member Wood in his closing remarks.

“When I watch that video, I get inspired,” said Wood. “It makes you realize that we are just a small part of a global movement. Thanks to everyone who came out today-it surpassed my expectations. Thanks also to the Town of Amherst, Deputy Mayor Lisa Emery, Gretchen Smith, Autumn House executive director Terry Cove, Jeanne Martin of Jeanne’s Decorative Cake House, the local ZONTA chapter, CUPE Local 4326, Carter’s Cresting, Kent Building Supplies, CFTA 107.1 FM, CKDH 101.7 FM and The Amherst News for supporting this event.”

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