V-Day Column Misses Point
Originally published in:
San Francisco Chronicle
A few points of clarification as sadly Jennifer Nelson ("V Is For Vote, Not Vaginas,” September 27) has missed the point of our “V Is For Vote” campaign and the phrases "Value Your Vagina –Vote!" and "Vaginas Vote."
V-Day is a global movement to end violence against women that began in 1998, inspired by women’s response to V-Day Founder/ Playwright Eve Ensler’s play "The Vagina Monologues." In its first six years, V-Day has raised over $25 million dollars to stop violence in local communities via thousands of local activists working in 76 countries, funded thousands of crisis centers and programs, and opened shelters in Narok, Kenya; Pine Ridge, South Dakota; Cairo, Egypt, Delhi, India; and Iraq.
In this crucial election year, it was clear that there was an enormous activist energy in the movement and it was time to translate that into political power, thus the "V Is For Vote" campaign. It was never meant literally, vaginas voting, lifting the lever so to speak. There was irony and humor involved. We have learned in V-Day that this irony and theatre and play can and has cut through the numbness and apathy and allows people to think about an issue that is often numbing and paralyzing.
So when you ridicule this campaign, here's what you need to know: there are “V Is For Vote” organizers in 44 states; hundreds of V-Posses registering friends, neighbors and colleagues and getting them to the polls; there is education and community building on a nationwide scale.
Most recently on a tour of FL, OH, and CO, we were able to mobilize thousands at public events and rallies and yes, it was the word vagina -- the idea, the possibility of being able to protect and honor their vaginas that brought women there, and obviously, it was their brains and hearts that figured all that out.
-- Jerri Lynn Fields, Executive Director, V-Day, New York City