Valentines Day 2019: Thursdays in Black

Valentine’s Day, 14 February, falls on a Thursday this year, and is being connected to the Thursdays in Black campaign against rape and violence. Recognizing that Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love, the World Council of Churches states that for too many people, “love” comes with abuse and violence.

A special World Council of Churches (WCC) campaign is tackling abuse and violence in “loving” relationships.

The World Council of Churches is inviting reflections and participation on social media, including encouraging people to use a special profile picture, to be made available on 7 February, for Valentine’s Day itself.

The campaign kicked off on 31 January by inviting reflections on a scripture passage often used to express love:

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NRSV)

“On the one hand, this scripture expresses love’s infinite beauty and ability to empower,” says Nicole Ashwood, World Council of Churches programme executive for Just Community of Women and Men. “But some women read lines like love ‘bears all things’ to mean that in a marriage or relationship they have to put up with violence. So we want to unpack this scripture, and talk about it in the context of God’s love for everyone.”

Reflections ThursdaysinBlack reflection on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 will be incorporated into a video and feature story for Valentine’s Day.

Thursdays in Black: Resistance and Resilience
The campaign is simple but profound. Wear black on Thursdays. Wear a pin to declare you are part of the global movement resisting attitudes and practices that permit rape and violence. Show your respect for women who are resilient in the face of injustice and violence. Encourage others to join you.

Often black has been used with negative racial connotations. In this campaign Black is used as a color of resistance and resilience.



What is the Thursdays in Black Campaign?

Thursdays in Black grew out of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998), in which the stories of rape as a weapon of war, gender injustice, abuse, violence, and many tragedies that grow outward from such violence became all the more visible. But what also became visible was women’s resilience, agency and personal efforts to resist such violations.

The campaign was inspired by:

  • The Mothers of the Disappeared in Buenos Aires, Argentina who on Thursdays protested at the Plaza de Mayo, against the disappearance of their children during the violent dictatorship.
  • The Women in Black in Israel and Palestine, who up to now protest against war and violence.
  • Women in Rwanda and Bosnia who were protesting against the use of rape as a weapon of war during the genocide.
  • Black Sash movement in South Africa protesting against apartheid and its use of violence against black people.

Join this movement of people and organizations that can make a difference to individuals, communities, and national and international policy forums.

Be inspired by others helping to lead the movement: in South Africa or and in New Zealand – Aotearoa. Read more about WCC’s Just Community of Women and Men.

Share your Thursdays in Black campaign photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, using hashtags #ThursdaysinBlack and #WCC !

Campaign Resources

Feel free to download and print your own campaign materials:

Thursdays in Black flyers: regular pdf or version for printing (with crop-marks)

Thursdays in Black badges with WCC logo, print-ready pdf file with crop-marks

Thursdays in Black badges (generic), print-ready pdf file with crop-marks.

Artwork for t-shirt or cloth bag with WCC logo and without WCC logo (PDF for screen printing on black bag or t-shirt – see sample)

Thursdays in Black “Valentine’s Day” focuses on “Love heals, not hurts”

A special WCC campaign is tackling abuse and violence in “loving” relationships. Valentine’s Day, 14 February, falls on a Thursday this year, and is being connected to the Thursdays in Black campaign against rape and violence.

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