My beautiful mother, Ruth, celebrated her last birthday two years ago on Valentine’s Day. She spent the day with Elmer, the love of her last years. She died a month later.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to highlight V-Day and the global movement to end violence against women. My mother was the victim of violence in her childhood, as was I and so many people, both women and men, whom I know. If we really love women, children, and other vulnerable people, we will not accept the astronomical rates of violence in our world today.

Today I’ll be joining a local gathering of One Billion Rise. People on every continent are rising up, led by women and supported by men who are allies, to demand an end to the violence that is destroying so many lives. This violence in our families and communities reflects the domination and violence of the institutions, systems, and ideologies that govern our world.

This global culture of domination and violence must be transformed. There is another way: a way of communion, cooperation, true partnership, mutual nurturing, understanding, empathy, peace. As we dance together, simultaneously, in communities around the world, we demonstrate that possibility and we build energy for a global transformation of values, mores, and cultures.

You can find a gathering and learn the anthem and dance at One Billion Rise. You can also find out more about the issue and support the movement to end violence in other ways. For instance, our group, Earth Justice Ministries, works with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), which offers workshops to foster empathy, conflict resolution, and nonviolent communication in prisons and in communities around the world. I will return to this issue of nonviolence again and again in my blog and in my occasional postings to Tikkun Daily.

I feel my mother’s benevolent spirit, sending out blessings to me, to my loved ones, and to all of us who are engaged in efforts to create a compassionate world. I gain energy knowing that she is encouraging me on, and that all the ancestors, the ones who have gone before, the “great cloud of witnesses,” are invested in our work of building a world of justice, peace, and beauty. We can join with our brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, in this movement of Spirit, this work of God.

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