From the Founder: Denim is our social justice fabric!
For 20 years POV has sponsored, curated and encouraged Denim Day activities around the world. The clarion call of the campaign to: support survivors of sexual violence and educate, educate, educate everyone has been and continues to be heeded. When I first thought of starting Denim Day after that now famous Italian Supreme Court, I was inspired by the sentiment of fusing one of the most ordinary, mundane things one could do - put on a pair of jeans or throw on a denim jacket - with one of the most serious and yet silenced traumas and crimes: sexual violence. And here we are 20 years later where it is safe to say that these past 20 years of organizing, campaigning, and outreaching on this topic has helped create the climate we are in now. The social issue of sexual violence in all of its forms is finally seen in many quarters (not all) as a significant social justice issue and as one of the intersectionalities with other forms of violence and oppression.
Between the era of Take Back The Nights and the #metoo explosion has been the twenty years of Denim Days. First starting in LA in a small park in downtown LA and slowly expanding across the County and the state of California and into other cities, states and countries. Millions now wear denim on purpose, with a purpose, to protest the destructive myths, lies and attitudes that surround rape. The movement to end sexual violence has been strengthened by these worldwide Denim Days that pay attention to a very concealed and neglected issue. While we are looking beyond equality to equity it is important to realize that there can be neither if (at least) half the population is threatened with sexual harassment, sexual violence, and rape. Fear is a major deterrent to freedom and equality.
So in celebration of the longest running sexual violence campaign probably ever, I say don your denim and wear your social justice clothing with pride and in solidarity for yourself and with all the survivors across the world. Wear your Denim Day buttons and continue to study up on the impact of sexual violence on children, youth, adults of all ages, all genders, trans people from all communities and cultures. Share what you learn with everyone you know and be brave and challenge lies and misconceptions. Challenge the dominance and exclusionary tactics of rape culture. Make no mistake about it, even in this era of pushback, there is no excuse and never an invitation to harass, assault, abuse or rape. Wear your social justice garb and show up in your jeans and jackets and denim couture at work, at play and make your social statement with your fashion statement on this 2019 Denim Day, Wednesday, April 24th. Join with us. You are and we are making a difference.
Patti Occhiuzzo Giggans
Founder of Denim Day
Executive Director/CEO of Peace Over Violence