Thursdays in Black

A global movement for a world without rape and violence.

In every country, gender-based violence is a tragic reality. This violence is frequently hidden, and victims are often silent, fearing stigma and further violence.

We all have a responsibility to speak out against violence, to ensure that women and men, boys and girls, are safe from rape and violence in homes, schools, work, streets – in all places in our societies.

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.

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

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Thursdays in Black badge

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.
 

Inspiring others: Thursdays in Black Ambassadors

Standing together from many sectors and many countries, Thursdays in Black ambassadors are conveying a sense of solidarity against violence and injustice.

Promotional Materials

Feel free to download and print your own campaign materials:

Graphic design files (Adobe Illustrator and InDesign) are  available for adapting to different languages or adding an organizational logo. Please email media@wcc-coe.org with your request.

Do you only want a small order of badges? Small orders can be filled by the WCC on a donation basis. Email media@wcc-coe.org.

Wondering if you could help the movement by being a “national supplier” of badges and other resources locally or nationally? Contact media@wcc-coe.org to express your interest!

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We observe Thursdays in Black poster

Toolkit for study, prayer and action

Raise awareness about gender-based violence and the need to stand in solidarity against rape and violence.

In addition to the promotional resources for Thursdays in Black, the following resources for study, prayer and action can assist your congregation or group to reflect on the root causes of violence,  our Christian calling for peace and justice, and  the need for public solidarity. Materials will be posted in different languages as available. Resources will be regularly added; follow #ThursdaysinBlack on Twitter for updates.

Encouraging solidarity through prayer following Pilgrim Team Visits to countries devastated by war and violence.

Study

Biblical reflection on Esther: Victim and Accomplice to Shadowy Patriarchal Violence? prepared by WCC Ecumenical Theological Education.

Social Message along with a foundational document and group study material for leaders and participants prepared by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Hagar's Journey/Pilgrimage: Bible Studies on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace by Jennifer P. Martin, United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

Excerpts from A Biblical Journey for Justice by Fulata Lusungu Moyo (bible studies prepared for the WCC’s Tenth Assembly in Busan, South Korea):

Introduction: Contextual Bible Study to Hear the Vulnerably Loving and Just God

Chapter 4: Peace without Violence against Women:  The Rape of Tamar (2 Samuel 13:1-22)

Chapter 5: For Daily Livelihood: Ruth Trafficked and Prostituted (Ruth 1:16-17)

Chapter 6: As Much Justice as She Needed: Persisting for Gender Justice (Luke 18:1-10)

Cries of Anguish, Stories of Hope: A six part study, originally prepared for Lent 2010. Each week's study focuses on a different part of the world and a different form of violence against women.

Biblical reflections on gender equality and violence for individual or group study by Rev. Doreen Wynter, Jamaica Baptist Union

 

Pray

Pilgrim Prayers for Women in Conflict Situations

Did you know my name? Poem and prayer service based on Genesis 16:1-10 from the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, November 2018

Service on gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Prayer Service: NoXcuses for Violence against Women and Girls

Prayer on Remembering Women

Poem on gender equality related to the UN Sustainable development goal nr.5

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession related to the UN Sustainable development goal nr.5 on gender equality

Poem: Paramos (ES) / We stop in our tracks (EN)

Litany and symbolic action from the Decade Festival Hearing on Violence against Women (EN) / Dekade-Festival (DE) / Festival de la Décennie (FR) / Festival del Decenio (ES)

Reflection on John 8:2-11: What shall we do with our stones?

 

Act

16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Created in God's Image. From Hierarchy to Partnership: a church manual on gender awareness and leadership development (World Communion of Reformed Churches and World Council of Churches

Gender-based violence and COVID-19

Domestic Abuse and COVID-19: How Churches Can Respond - a joint resource from the Anglican Consultative Council and the Anglican Alliance

Inspiring others: Thursdays in Black Ambassadors

Standing together from many sectors and many countries, Thursdays in Black ambassadors are conveying a sense of solidarity against violence and injustice.

Make the Thursdays in Black Pledge

I commit to Thursdays in Black.
In solidarity, In protest, In mourning, For awareness and In hope

By supporting Thursdays in Black I stand:
- In solidarity with 1 in 3 women worldwide who face violence in their lives
- In protest against systems and societies that encourage violence in any form
- In mourning for men, women and children who are harmed and killed in sexual violence
- For awareness and knowledge about the challenges of sexual and gender-based violence.
- In the hope that a different reality is possible.

Global Exhibit

Let's make a powerful, international statement of our commitment to end rape and violence by contributing to a large tapestry exhibit being developed by the World Council of Churches for its Assembly in 2022.

Thursdays in Black ambassadors play a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Ambassadors are leaders in their community, committed to being visible and outspoken in the Thursdays in Black movement. By standing together from many sectors and many countries, Thursdays in Black ambassadors are conveying a sense of solidarity against violence and injustice.

To learn more about Thursdays in Black ambassadors, please contact media@wcc-coe.org.

Dr Agnes Abuom: “Enough is enough”

This is the first in a series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. By standing together from many sectors and many countries, Thursdays in Black ambassadors are conveying a sense of solidarity against violence and injustice.

Claudia Bandixen: “I don’t have to do it alone”

This is the third in a series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence.

Rev. Claudia Bandixen is the recently retired director of Mission 21, an international mission organisation headquartered in Basel.

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: “No longer will we stay silent”

Elizabeth Eaton is presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). On 8 August, the ELCA adopted a resolution to encourage church-wide participation in the World Council of Churches Thursdays in Black campaign for a world free from rape and violence.

Rev. Chris Ferguson: “Wake up to how this world is”

This is the second in a series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Rev. Chris Ferguson is general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Larissa Aguiar Garcia: "We're opening a safe space”

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Larissa Aguiar Garcia, from Igreja Medista do Brasil, is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) ECHOS Commission for young people.

Jouni Hemberg: “Make the message more visible”

Our series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors highlights those who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Jouni Hemberg is executive director of Finn Church Aid.

Alison Judd: “Be willing to challenge”

Our series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors highlights those who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Alison Judd is the world president for the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women.

Rev. Damon Mkandawire: “A man is a gender justice champion”

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Rev. Damon Mkandawire is hospital administrator for the United Church of Zambia’s Mbereshi Mission Hospital.

Hanbeet Rhee: “Young people can be bridges”

Our series of interviews with Thursdays in Black ambassadors highlights those who are playing a vital role in increasing the impact of our collective call for a world without rape and violence. Hanbeet Rhee, from the Presbyterian Church of Korea, is a member of the Ecumenical Youth Council in Korea. She is also a commissioner with the World Council of Churches (WCC) ECHOS programme, as well as a youth advisor for the WCC Central Committee.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit: “We as churches can really make a difference”

During 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence, the World Council of Churches staff are demonstrating the links between their work and efforts to overcome sexual and gender-based violence under the theme, “From our House to Yours”.

Today, the #16Days contribution is from the General Secretariat, and the important role leadership plays in making equality and justice visible, and violence unacceptable.

Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance

Communities and individuals of all faiths and none are invited to make a powerful, international statement of their commitment to end rape and violence through contributing to a large tapestry exhibit being developed by the World Council of Churches for its Assembly in 2021.

The tapestry is designed as a waterfall with messages and images from around the world. In addition to the WCC Assembly, it is intended to be displayed at other prominent locations, from the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva to the United Nations in New York.

The waterfall is based on the Thursdays in Black design, with the pilgrimage lines in white and purple.

How can I be involved?

Make a panel! Individuals and groups can prepare square cloth panels with images and messages that reflect your hope and commitment to overcome gender-based abuse and violence. They might lift up an individual who has made you most aware of the issues, or a scripture passage, or a picture or image that to you means a journey for healing or solidarity. These are just some ideas - what is on the panel is up to you.

What is required is:

  • Panels should be in cloth, 30 cm x 30 cm (12in x 12in) with a 1cm/half inch border for joining panels together
  • Ideally, the background colour should be black, purple or white

When completed, please post your square along with a page describing who has prepared the square and any background or story on the image or message* to:

Nicole Ashwood
Just Community of Women and Men
World Council of Churches
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2
Switzerland

* If there is any part of the background that you do not wish to be shared publicly as part of the promotion of the tapestry or the exhibit itself, please clearly indicate this when submitting.

Photos of the people working on the square are also encouraged, and can be sent to sara.speicher@wcc-coe.org.

Squares can be sent in at any time.

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Artist illustration of tapestry

Illustration of the "Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance". Credit: Jane Clark

Selection of the panels with painful and powerful stories as well as hopeful examples of solidarity against gender-based violence.