Baltimore Activists Call for a National Monument to Survivors of Rape and Abuse.
Baltimore, MD—FORCE, a Baltimore based creative activist effort to upset the culture of rape and promote a culture of consent, is hosting a Community Conversation to generate support for a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse. The Community Conversation will take place on August 6th at 5:00pm at the Enoch Pratt Central Library’s Poe Room.
TheMonument Project is a call to create a national monument to survivors of rape and abuse. “We believe in building a national monument because our country needs public and supportive spaces for survivors to heal,” says Hannah Brancato, FORCE’s co-director. “A national monument will be a symbol with which our country can imagine a day without rape.”
FORCE is hosting a series of Community Conversations across the country to generate dialogue, creativity, and support for the Monument Project. The first of the workshops, taking place in Baltimore, is an opportunity for the voices of survivors, clergy, health providers, educators, men and women, young and old to feel connected to the growing movement towards building a permanent monument.
Attendees will participate in poster making, reflections, and networking. In breakout groups, participants will answer key questions and identify next steps for the work areas necessary to make the monument a reality including: generating public support, bringing stakeholders to the table, passing legislation and fundraising.
As a call for a permanent monument, Force has been installing temporary monuments on the national mall. In the summer of 2014, the group will install The Monument Quilt, a giant picnic blanket made of survivors’ stories covering the entire lawn of the national mall. Force has led a successful Kickstarter campaign for this effort, raising $26,848 through 700 supporters from across the country.
While the group is campaigning to build a permanent monument on the mall, they are building a virtual monument online. TheMonumentProject.org is a virtual and public platform where the experiences of survivors can be shared, respected, and honored. You can add your story to the online platform and The Monument Quilt by visiting themonumentproject.org and clicking “share your story”.
Force is collaborating with the House of Ruth of Maryland and New Lens Productions for the Community Conversation taking place in Baltimore. The House of Ruth Maryland is one of the nation’s leading domestic violence centers, leading the fight to end violence against women and their children. New Lens Productions is a youth driven social justice organization that makes art and media about issues where a youth perspective has the capacity to inspire change.
FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture is an art activist effort to upset the dominant culture of rape and promote a counter-culture of consent. “We believe that a more difficult and honest conversation needs to happen in America to face the realities of sexual violence, and we envision a world where sex is empowering and pleasurable rather than coercive and violent,” says Rebecca Nagle, Force’s Co-Director. “To promote this needed conversation, we create art actions to generate media attention and get millions of people talking.” According to the Huffington Post, “Force is doing a good and creative job with a hard-to-digest topic, capturing the public imagination with their tactics.” The group is most widely known for their viral panty prank, where they pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting consent themed slogan on undies and thongs. They have also received national attention for projecting“RAPE IS RAPE” onto the US Capitol Building and for floating a GIANT poem written by a survivor in the reflecting pool on the national mall.
The Baltimore Community Conversation kicks off a series of workshops happening up and down the East Coast this summer and fall. In partnership with George Washington University, FORCE is hosting the next community conversation in Washington DC on September 17 at 6pm. On October 21, FORCE and Black Women’s Blueprint are hosting a conversation at the North Star Fund In New York City from 6-9pm. If you are interested in helping organize or sponsor a community conversation please contact FORCE at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group is currently seeking partners for planning and promotion and donations for refreshments.