EMPOWER Club: Celebrating Valentine’s Day a new way

This Valentine’s Day EMPOWER members came together yet again to educate York’s students about V-Day and to stand up for something they, as a club, are passionate about. V-Day is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, but don’t get confused, it does not stand for Valentine’s Day. In fact, V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women and girls.

To bring awareness to this issue of domestic abuse and ending violence against women, EMPOWER club is passing out red V’s and wearing black this Valentine’s Day. This V-Day is the 20th anniversary as it was started in 1998.

Photo by Rachel Perry
Members of EMPOWER show off the red V’s they produced for V-Day and wear black in support of #MeToo.

“The red V is passed out for Valentines day, and it draws attention to the irony that Valentine’s day is a day to celebrate love, and V-Day is a day that brings attention to abuse against women,” EMPOWER club sponsor Ms. DiTomasso said. “We have been passing these out at York since 1998 so it a big tradition here.”

Photo by Rachel Perry
Freshman Claire Cockman and Sarah Sullivan pass out red V’s to other students in support of V-Day.

V-Day is inspired by Eve Ensler who wrote a play titled “The Vagina Monologues” which were a series of skits performed by women which dealt  with domestic violence, physical abuse, sexual assault, and rape.

Unlike past years, EMPOWER encouraged everyone to wear black in light of the #MeToo movement which is a movement that started in 2017 where women spoke out about their own experiences with sexual assault.

Photo by Rachel Perry
Mr. Hall wears all black and a red V to support EMPOWER’s V-Day festivities.

“2017 really marked a turning point in the third wave of feminism with the #MeToo movement,” DiTomasso said. “The women and men in the Golden Globes wore black in solidarity to bring attention to this issue, and we really wanted to do something else this year since it is the 20th anniversary and there is so much momentum with this going on right now.”

Chicago Tribune
Black-out at the Golden Globes as stars pose for a picture proudly displaying their black fashions of the night for #metoo.

In 2013 through V-Day a new movement was born called One Billion Rising. This movement is the largest mass action to demand an end to violence against women in history. V-Day and One Billion Rising are crucial movements in the global fight to stop gender-based violence, doing this by attacking the silence

“V-Day brings a lot of awareness to what’s happening and I think it’s going to be especially impactful this year in wake of #MeToo and Time’s Up,” freshman Claire Cockman said. “People are going to have to start listening to this and that it’s going to help bring a voice to people that have suffered.”

Photo by Rachel Perry
Members of EMPOWER measure out red felt for the creation of red V’s for V-Day.

It’s important for students to be involved in movements like this all; from the freshman to the seniors a great number of students are taking part.

“There’s still prevalent rape culture not only within the United States, but around the world,” senior Claudia Todd said. “It is vital to let people know that this type of behavior is not tolerated and we need men to join with us to fight to end violence against women.”

Photo by Rachel Perry
Seniors Sarah Sullivan, Isabella Young, and Claudia Todd present the red V’s they worked on for V-Day.