One Billion Rising

One Billion Rising Webster Leiden Campus organizers mobilized fellow students, faculty and women’s groups from the area to dance in unison as a ‘flash mob’ for Valentine’s Day on the Beestenmarkt in Leiden.

This year marked the largest turnout for the Webster-student campaign. Flash mobs form online and usually result in a public assembly. ‘One Billion Rising’ flash mobs perform a dance routine to the tune of “Break the Chain,” produced by Grammy Award winner Tena Clark.

Behavioral and social sciences department head, Dr. Sheetal Shah said Webster Leiden Campus organized its first flash mob in 2013. Last year, the dance was also performed on the Stationsplein at Leiden Centraal.

“I see it as a great example of global citizenship in that students took the initiative to organize the event and for each of them, it means something and that is the best outcome,” Shah said.

The One Billion Rising campaign, launched on Valentine’s Day in 2012, began as a call-to-action based on a UN statistic from 2011 stating 1 in 3 women on the planet will be assaulted, or raped, during her lifetime. And with total world population at 7 billion, that translates to approximately a billion victims.

International organizers in 2015 said approximately one million people in 200 countries participated in the global mass-action. This year, over 200 separate flash mobs were scheduled to perform in Europe alone on 14 February.

Shah said the larger group in Leiden reflected the wider involvement of volunteers from Bridge2Hope, a collaborative project between Webster Leiden Campus and Christian Aid & Resources Foundation (CARF) based in the Bijlmer (Bijlmermeer), a culturally diverse area in the southeast section of Amsterdam stigmatized by its portrayal as a developing neighborhood.

“We work with women who are marginalized and have been violated sexually, physically and psychologically; therefore, it’s a great synergy for our students to stand-up for those who don’t have a voice,” Shah said.

Countrywide, listed The Hague campus of Leiden University and the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg as having active organizations scheduled for the worldwide dance.

“I’m hoping that in the years to come, we can have participants from the Bijlmer project who will rise with us as well,” Shah said.

See all our photos here:

Brian Ruth | Webster Media Society

Photos by Ben Clewell and Daniel Neville | Webster Media Society