A cohort of our members ‘attended’ The Creative Forum that Tara Arkle organised to replace the SI Weston super Mare annual Railing Against Abuse planned to gather in London this year. This Forum was on 22nd November – three days prior to the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women annual awareness day.
This multi-year UN End Violence against Women campaign is an effort aimed at preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls. This year the focus was “on amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls.” The 2020 theme was “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!” and 25th November marked the launch of 16 Days of Activism that concluded on 10th December 2020 – the UN International Human Rights Day.
During the 16 days, SI Bristol’s social media daily featured relevant posts. Members of SI Bristol all wore orange (see above) at their Zoom Club meeting on 23rd November and throughout the 16 day period, continued to wear orange when out and about.
On 1st December, Yvonne (our Programme Action Officer), handed over Christmas gifts to a representative from Unseen for survivors of modern slavery. Thirteen survivors (8 women and 5 men) will be spending the festive season in Safe Houses operated by Unseen in Bristol. The gifts included donations of Boots’ Gifts Vouchers, which totaled £315.00 and 13 beautifully crafted and unique drawstring bags, each handmade by a club member from fabric donated by Hillarys Bristol Showrooms. It was decided that due to the extraordinary present circumstances, practical activities would be beneficial to survivors. Thus, we also gave items that were surplus to our needs (no shopping required), such as knitting yarn and needles, art paper, paints, and numerous other craft items. The response we obtained from staff at Unseen was “We are all ‘blown away’ with your thoughtful bags, messages and card, not to mention the vouchers”.
Our 16 Days of Activism culminated with a talk delivered via Zoom by Andrew Wallis, OBE, CEO of Unseen, which was entitled Road to Equality. In addition to members of SI Bristol, the talk was ‘attended’ by members from our Friendship Link clubs: SI Chester and SI Halifax and by SI Weston- super-Mare. It was very well received and highly appropriate on Human Rights Day