November 25th has traditionally been the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, but just one day of the year cannot bring full awareness to the issue of gender violence. That is why the UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign has established that the 25th of every month should be used to take action, with the rise of its “Orange Day Program.”
In 2015, the UN released a global agenda that was accepted by all countries. Through its 17 goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainable development. The goals also recognize gender equality and the empowerment of women as key priorities.
The agenda pledges that “no one gets left behind.” The UNiTE campaign will celebrate each Orange Day under this slogan, and each month, different Sustainable Development goals will be highlighted. This pattern is meant to ensure that the implications and consequences of violence against women within every marginalized group will be recognized.
Orange is a bright and optimistic color, which is why it was chosen to denote anti-violence and equality. Many programs and events around the world have joined forces with UNiTE in raising awareness of violence against women, including the Havana World Music Festival in Cuba.
The Havana World Music Festival is an internationally recognized event that brings together artists from all around the world to celebrate cultural diversity and reflect on creative, open-minded, and modern Cuba. One of the main objectives of the event is to promote the work of less experienced bands and give them the opportunity to work with more established musicians.
Artists come to the festival from countries all around the world, including Bulgaria, Colombia, Haiti, and Romania. At the event, they share their individual identities through their music, celebrate diversity, and participate in workshops, exhibitions, and conferences that discuss current trends in world music.
The initiative for “Orange Day” was announced by Eme (or ‘M’) Alfonso, the artistic director of the Havana World Music Festival. Since the event took place from March 24 to March 27 this year, it made sense for the curators, artists, and patrons to promote “Orange Day” by wearing orange during the events themselves on Saturday the 25th.
Eme Alfonso is a member of the Artist’s Network UNiTE and a regular promoter of actions in favor of gender equality. She comes from a family of musicians and began her career in music at a young age. Motivated by female Cuban artists such as Dulce Maria Loynaz and Flora Fong, she has been fighting against gender-based violence in Cuba for a long time.
“I see it every day,” Alfonso says. “It goes unnoticed and it bothers me a lot.”
Being involved in the Havana World Music Festival allows Alfonso to learn about and give exposure to young artists with important messages about diversity and equality.
“I wish that more people would join the campaign,” says Alfonso, “especially people who have a popular voice and can carry these messages of nonviolence far.”
After only three editions, the Havana World Music Festival has established itself as one of the most important festivals in the country due to the uniting messaging it promotes to people across the world.
If you want to help raise awareness of the fight to end violence against women, be sure to wear orange on the 25th of every month, and check out http://www.un.org/en/women/endviolence/index.shtml for more information.
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