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Lifestyle // Good Neighbors
Nicole Kato

Holly Holowach

Photo from Holly Holowach

Photo from Holly Holowach

Sport the colors red, black, hot pink or white Feb. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Magic Island for One Billion Rising For Justice, an event geared to raise awareness about violence against women and children.

This free gathering welcomes community member to bring a picnic and enjoy the evening, which will be filled with entertainment by Jody Bill, Timothy Jeffryes, the cast of Manoa Valley Theatre’s Rent and more.

One Billion Rising is put on solely by volunteers, and any money raised from water or T-shirt sales, as well as donations, goes to organizations on the front lines of ending domestic violence and homelessness.

A staple of One Billion Rising is the flash mob dance produced by Tena Clark and choreographed by Debbie Allen, “Break the Chain,” which the public can learn online at onebillionrisinghonolulu.com.

Organizer Holly Holowach describes the dance as a cross between hip-hop and Zumba, and notes that it was performed in previous years at hundreds of venues all around the world.

“This is the largest movement to raise awareness that there is an epidemic of violence and sexual assault, and it must be stopped,” she explains. “The only way it can be stopped is if we stand up.”

While the One Billion Rising event has been taking place around the world (207 countries, to be exact), Holowach admits that prior to her starting a Hawaii chapter she knew nothing about it.

“I got really excited about it when I saw it on Facebook,” she says. “My previous career was producing events, and I immediately visualized doing it (a One Billion Rising) at Magic Island and having the beautiful Diamond Head and Waikiki sunset in the background.”

Holowach’s background in producing events is the perfect fit for her vision and her role as director of Weinberg Village in Waimanalo, a shelter under Holomua Na Ohana for homeless families and children, many of whom are running to escape domestic-violence situations.

“I think that it’s really important to me to do this because there are a lot of victims who need our help,” Holowach says. “There are a lot of women who cannot stand up and speak and say, ‘Help us.’

“Women like me need to do that. We need to stand and rise together and say this has got to end.”

According to Holowach, One Billion Rising is a chance for men and women in the community to raise their voices for the same cause and to make a difference.

“This is not a women’s cause, it’s a human race cause,” she adds.

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