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One Billion Fathers Rising in Western Mass Hopes to Stop Violence Against Women

BILLION DADSNORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) –Growing up in New York City, James Arana’s childhood was filled with violence. “I grew up in the South Bronx in the 70’s, at that time it was a war zone, so experienced a wide variety of violence; fighting, name-calling. I experienced a wide variety of violence that I had to really talk to people about so I wouldn’t have to act out,” said the Associate Director of Men’s Resources International.

Stories like Arana’s are part of the reason why One Billion Fathers Rising in Western Massachusetts exists.

It’s born from the One Billion Rising movement, which aims to stop violence against women.

During it’s very first event, One Billion Fathers is doing the same thing.

Not on Northampton’s Main Street, but in Burundi, Africa, through speech, dance, and performances, and Father’s Day as their launching pad. “We are calling on fathers all around the world. Fathers have a lot to do to end the violence. We are protectors, we are change agents. So on father’s day in Western Mass, we thought it was good to break the silence,” event organizer Pascal Akimana said.

Pascal says the program doesn’t only hope to inspire global change or local change, but in homes like his, with his 7 year old son. “I hope that one day he can grow up in a community that is free from violence and abuse and get his values that define a real man and a father that is not an abusive father, not a bully father, but to embrace love and peace,” he added.

He also hopes that this event will at least start a dialogue about ending abuse.

Pascal says he’s travelling to Burundi in august with his organization, Umoja Now to continue spreading the message.

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