The Singer is the Song…The Silence is Over

The Singer is the Song…The Silence is Over

Troy Westwood, storied singer-songwriter, Little Hawk, has a message for men: staying silent about violence against women makes you a part of the problem. He tells them: take action now. Take responsibility to end violence against our mothers, our sisters, our daughters and every woman we do not know, she who is still a part of us.

And Troy is not standing alone with his message. Read this edition of Women Making Waves, which, for the first time in its 25-year history, opens its pages to the voices of men who are working – not pledging – but working to end violence against women.

Byron Hurt, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer and an anti-sexist activist, writes about the first time he spoke out against men’s violence against women. His work continues. Dennis Danforth Jr, a member of the Oneida First Nation, describes how he teaches children to honour and respect women and, through his work with Masc Magazine, encourages men to accept that they bear the largest responsibility to end violence against women. Sebastian Roberts’ life was transformed through a personal tragedy leading him to work in Africa where he came to understand that “Sexism is an invisible plague that is taking the lives of women around the world.” He intends to return to Africa to do his part to end, “this chauvinistic madness.”

Over the past two years, Battered Women’s Support Services has worked within communities of men to welcome them into the movement to end violence against women. In this issue of Women Making Waves, we report on the power of men’s commitment to anti-violence work.

Emerge Vancouver

Hip-hop is a man’s game!…but it doesn’t have to be…

Battered Women’s Support Services presents

Emerge Vancouver

Hip-Hop:  Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) hosts a special showing of Byron Hurts’ acclaimed film Hip-Hop:  Beyond Beats & Rhymes.  An official selection of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival Hip-Hop:  Beyond Beats & Rhymes provides a riveting examination of representations of manhood in hip-hop culture.  Byron Hurt, former college quarterback, gender violence prevention educator and longtime hip hop fan will be in Vancouver and will be joined by Chuck D.  Chuck D is an American rapper, author, and producer. He helped create politically and socially conscious rap music in the late 1980s as the leader of the rap group, Public Enemy.

A determined group of women started Battered Women’s Support Services in 1979. Thirty years later, BWSS has grown into a strong and dynamic organization. We continue to provide support and advocacy for women who have experienced abuse, as well as education about violence against women. As part of the feminist anti-violence movement, our long-term goal is the elimination of all violence against women.

Hip-hop was born in the Bronx almost 40 years ago as a form of cultural expression in marginalized communities.  It quickly emerged as a vehicle for empowerment and political activism and has evolved to a misogynistic, homophobic, glorifying violence and racist caricature.  Where once “tell it like it is” lyrics spoke for oppressed people today mainstream hip hop videos are grotesque stereotypes that promote hate and violence.  Today’s mainstream hip hop culture is a manifestation of the intersection of misogyny, race, culture, commerce and gender ground down in it’s purest form.  These themes are explored in the ground breaking film Hip-Hop:  Beyond Beats & Rhymes filmed by Byron Hurt and featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy.

BWSS has partnered with Byron Hurt and Chuck D to bring youth, women, men from around Metro Vancouver to Emerge & Engage in these themes by participating in a discussion about how we can engage our communities, men and youth to see that violence against women is as much a men’s issue and a youth issue as a women’s issue.

Emerge Vancouver will be held on Friday, November 21, 2008 at Vancity Theatre located at 1181 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC.  Youth shows in the am, Invitation only event pm, public showing doors at 8:30 pm film at 9:00 pm panel discussions follow all showings.

Contact Angela Marie MacDougall to arrange media access and interviews.

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