Friday, February 11, 2011

Speaking for the Vagina Monologues at Peabody

It was 2009 when I last spoke at Peabody...

Again, in 2011, I spoke at the Peabody Conservatory of Music benefit performance of the Vagina Monologues on behalf of TurnAround, Inc., the beneficiary of the proceeds from the performances. 2008 was Peabody's first year involved with the V-Day organization. The monologues, were wonderfully performed by Peabody students.

I have always enjoyed V-Day performances and I plan to do a monologue at some point my life. If you have never seen a performance and would like to, please visit the V-Day website for scheduled performances in your area.

What is V-Day?

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery.

Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, and screenings of V-Day's documentary Until The Violence Stops to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. 2009 V-Day events have the option to introduce a new V-Day theatrical event, Any One Of Us: Words From Prison, which reveals the connection between women in prison and the violence that often brings them there. This new event will bring forth raw voices of fierceness and honesty written by women from prisons across the nation and performed by local women. In 2008, over 4000 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls.

Performance is just the beginning. V-Day stages large-scale benefits and produces innovative gatherings, films and campaigns to educate and change social attitudes towards violence against women including the documentary Until The Violence Stops; community briefings on the missing and murdered women of Juárez, Mexico; the December 2003 V-Day delegation trip to Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan; the Afghan Women's Summit; the March 2004 delegation to India; the Stop Rape Contest, the Indian Country Project, Love Your Tree, the June 2006 two-week festival of theater, spoken word, performance and community events called Until The Violence Stops: NYC which welcomed 2,000 runners in Prospect Park running to demand an end to violence, witnessed 50 actresses and over 100 writers contributing their genius, time and talent to sold out events, and reached millions through media and a citywide subway and bus campaign. In 2008, V-Day celebrated its 10-year anniversary at V TO THE TENTH at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome. V TO THE TENTH featured two days of speakers, art, performance for all and makeovers, massage, medical testing and healing circles, and yoga for the women of the Gulf South Region. The event was attended by over 30,000 women and men and reached millions of people all over the word, raising over $700,000 for local efforts in New Orleans to end violence against women and girls.

In Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, V-Day commits ongoing support to build movements and anti-violence networks. Working with local organizations, V-Day provided hard-won funding that helped open the first shelters for women in Egypt and Iraq, sponsored annual workshops and three national campaigns in Afghanistan, convened the "Confronting Violence" conference of South Asian women leaders, and donated satellite-phones to Afghan women to keep lines of communication open and action plans moving forward. Through the Karama program based out of Cairo, V-Day works in-depth to build networks ending violence against women and girls in Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

The V-Day movement is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world, in 120 countries from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and all of North America. V-Day, a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities" and in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities. In ten years, the V-Day movement has raised over $60 million.

The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

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