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V-Day 2004 Recap from Executive Director Jerri Lynn Fields

04/22/2004

Dear V-Supporters,

If our only achievement had been... the World premiere of the first V-Day Documentary "Until The Violence Stops" at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and the Broadcast Premiere on Lifetime Television it would have been a successful year.

If our only achievement had been... the February 14, V-Day and Amnesty International March on Juarez, Mexico to honor the over 300 missing and murdered women and to support the families and grassroots human rights groups working for justice-over 7000 marched, international media transmitted the story of the women of Juarez around the world-it would have been a successful year.

If our only achievement had been... The two-week intensive V-Day 2004 Visit to India: Celebrating the Indian Woman Warrior which included events in Mumbai, Himachel, and Delhi and a series of gala benefit productions of "The Vagina Monologues;" a ground-breaking ceremony for a learning center for women in Northern India; and a conference of over seventy South Asian feminist leaders from Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and more to Delhi to strategize methods to end violence against women and girls it would have been a successful year...

If our only achievement had been over 2,300 V-Day 2004 benefit productions of "The Vagina Monologues" in February and March in 1,100 communities and colleges worldwide and raising an estimated $5 million for local community anti-violence programs it would have been a successful year...

We had a SPECTACULAR year! We achieved all of this, in just three months.

We were able to do all of this because of you, our loyal supporters.

V-Day 2004: "Celebrating Vagina Warriors"

Each year, V-Day strives to raise awareness and funds to end violence against women and girls, and changing consciousness about the issue on an international scale.

In mounting our campaigns, we draw inspiration from the thousands of vagina warriors - volunteers, activists, sponsors, media, and supporters like you - who are working worldwide to end violence against women and girls in their communities recognizing that each V-Day event helps a woman tell her story, inspires others to give, engages the local media, enables women to expand their networks, and encourages entire communities to act together to end violence against women.

Each year we strive to expand awareness of the issue and to raise more funds.

In 2004, these efforts were extraordinary, surpassing our expectations and inspiring us to do more next year...

In looking back at V-Day 2004, we are so very deeply in awe of the achievements of these thousands of vagina warriors, who, along with our staff of ten, are responsible for V-Day's biggest year of awareness and outreach and fundraising to date in the ongoing fight to end violence against women and girls in the U.S. and around the world.

Following are some of the key highlights that we accomplished together -

"UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS"

Directed by first time director Abby Epstein, UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS documents how "The Vagina Monologues" grew into an international grassroots movement called V-Day to stop violence against women and girls. In 2002, eight hundred cities around the world participated in V-Day by staging benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues. UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS shows women from Harlem to Ukiah, California; from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to the Philippines and Kenya, uniting and courageously revealing their intimate and deeply painful experiences with abuse ranging from rape to female circumcision. In emotionally charged
interviews and performances, everyday women and celebrities like Rosie Perez, Salma Hayek, Tattoo Cardinal, Jane Fonda, and LisaGay Hamilton embrace their bodies, reconcile their pasts, and bond together to break the silence that surrounds abuse. More than just testimonies and performances, UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS is a film about empowerment and the importance of dialogue in the healing process. A celebration of women reclaiming their bodies and lives, this moving documentary leaves us with hope that change can happen.

  • World premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, with two additional screenings added do to popular demand. Vagina marketing became all the rage at Sundance with Vagina Warrior ski caps becoming the in demand item for Park City attendees..
  • Six U.S. communities hosted benefit screenings to raise funds and awareness for local groups working to end violence against women and girls: Santa Fe, NM; San Francisco and Ukiah, CA; Miami (Film Festival); Atlanta, GA; White Plains, NY.
  • Lifetime Television broadcast premiered the documentary, commercial free, on February 17 with nearly 1 million viewers. Immediately after the East coast broadcast, Tampax hosted the first-ever live V-Day webcast, from The University of Tulsa (OK), where thousands of women and men logged on to ask Eve and V-Day questions about the film and the movement.
  • Media coverage of the documentary appeared in hundreds of national and local broadcast and print outlets including CNN, TODAY, NPR, PEOPLE, TV Guide, USATODAY.com and many many more. V-Day supporters Jane Fonda and Glenn Close joined Eve for television, radio and print interviews and junkets. Early reports from our print monitoring service found over 400 articles reaching over 50 million people between February 1-29, 2004.

    SPOTLIGHT ON JUAREZ

    Via the Mexico City production of "The Vagina Monologues," direct support to Casa Amiga and other grassroots groups on the ground, and the efforts of thousands of activists, V-Day has been working throughout Mexico and internationally to raise awareness about the missing and murdered women of Juarez. For V-Day 2004, Juarez was our Spotlight issue placing the issue in front of millions in the U.S. and internationally through the over 2000 V-Day benefits that took place in February - March.

  • V-Day Founder/Playwright Eve Ensler's essay on the missing and murdered women of Ciudad Juarez entitled "The City Of Murdered Women" appears in the March issue of Marie Claire magazine.
  • Working closely with Amnesty International, V-Day places stories on the issue in PEOPLE, the LA Times, CosmoGIRL and more.
  • On February 13 the V-Day delegation, including Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (IL) and Hilda Solis (CA), Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Christine Lahti, Lifetime Television CEO Carole Black, PBS CEO Pat Mitchell, Lifetime EVP Public Affairs Meredith Wagner, met with mothers whose daughters have been murdered or are missing; immediately following the American Consulate hosted a reception welcoming the V-Day community to Juarez to support our efforts to raise awareness and to end the violence against women in Juarez. The newly appointed special prosecutors met with Eve and members of the delegation to discuss changes and progress or the lack of it in these cases.
  • On V-Day, February 14, over 7,000 people traveled to Juarez - thousands crossing the bridge from neighboring El Paso, TX - to stand up for the women of Juarez.
  • Following the march, thousands gathered for a community luncheon in advance of the historic, first performance of "The Vagina Monologues" in Juarez by a bilingual cast included Lilia Aragon, Marinitia Escobedo, Laura Flores, Monica Alicia Juarez, Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Christine Lahti.
  • The March and the performance garner international media coverage, saturating the U.S., UK, Mexico and Latin America via CNN, Univision, Telemundo, local ABC, CBS, NBC stations, Agence France Presse, Associated Press, BBC, The Guardian, the Sunday Times and more.
  • VICTORY! On March 8 we were notified by a local community organization in Juarez that as a result of the March on Juarez the Chihuahua State's Attorney resigned!

    V-DAY INDIA 2004: CELEBRATING THE INDIAN WOMAN WARRIOR*

    Through V-Day Special Representative Hibaaq Osman's leadership and vision-art and activism united to end violence against women in India. V-Day, along with star supporters Jane Fonda and Marisa Tomei, traveled to India March 8-20 to celebrate South Asian women's activism.

  • A beautiful benefit production of "The Vagina Monologues" was staged on International Women's Day in Mumbai. The India cast, along with Jane, Marisa and Eve wowed the standing room only audience.
  • Our delegation toured a SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action) hospital/shelter in the largest slum in Mumbai. SNEHA was a beneficiary of the V-Day Mumbai event and is now a V-Day awardee.
  • We met with representatives of Citibank in Mumbai who are supporting the work of several groups working to end violence against women and girls.
  • We made a 14-hour (one-way) bus journey to the state of Himachel, near Dharamsala (the Tibetan seat of government) to support Jagori, our host organization in Delhi, to celebrate the opening of their new learning center for women and girls. During our stay at the Norbulingka Institute (its mission is to preserve Tibetan culture) we visited the Buddhist nunnery and lit 1001 candles as a blessing for the learning center.
  • In Delhi, V-Day, along with Jagori and SANGAT, hosted a 3-day conference: "Confronting Violence: Recounting Resistance, Envisioning Justice" The conference objective was to analyze how feminists have faced Violence Against Women, what connections have been made with other phenomena like communalism, fundamentalisms, globalization, privatization etc. A dynamic group of over 70 women from South Asian (including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, and India) attending this powerful conference. Eve performed a one-woman show of "The Vagina Monologues" for conference attendees and special guests
    that brought down the house!

  • On our final evening in Delhi, and India, V-Day co-sponsored an evening of Women Artists for Justice, Harmony and Peace, a concert in an open-air venue. The voices of youth, the dancing of women, the strength
    of poetry and Eve's powerful words were a beautiful, celebratory way to end our journey.

  • Indian print, radio and television media covers the trip two weeks in advance with multiple stories on the celebrities, the events, and the activist conference. Throughout the visit Indian media saturated by message of V-Day's mission to end violence against women, interviews with Eve, Hibaaq Osman, Jane Fonda and Marisa Tomei.

    *This is just a small glimpse of the journey in India. A full report from our Special Representative, Hibaaq Osman, will be completed this summer.

    2,300 EVENTS IN 1,100 COMMUNITIES!

    Through V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produced annual benefit performances of "The Vagina Monologues" to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.

    Since V-Day launched its very first event in 1998, the movement has encountered incredible women working to end violence against women and girls in their communities. These women have often experienced violence personally or witnessed it within their communities and dedicated themselves toward ending such violence through effective, grassroots means. They have been the very heart of V-Day. This year, V-Day's 2004 events and campaigns celebrated these women whom Eve has dubbed `Vagina Warriors.' V-Day productions around the world selected and honored Vagina Warriors in its own community.

  • Eve's solo performance to a sold-out, SRO audience in Tulsa, OK benefited The Spirits of Hope: A Coalition Addressing Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Oklahoma Indian Country. After Eve's performance Jane Fonda performed "Emotional Creature," a new piece written by Eve.
  • The first-ever transgendered V-Day was staged in Los Angeles; it was a spectacular evening of celebration, performance and education as we all learned the horrific violence that transgendered women endure. A highlight of the evening was the performance of a new piece Eve wrote specifically for this event, "He Beat the Girl out of my Boy...or so he Tried."
  • We had the privilege of attending a huge V-Day performance at the University of Texas, El Paso. The cast was diverse and fantastic.
  • In March, models, actresses and politicians joined together to stage V-Day Nairobi, a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" benefiting the Rape Crisis Centre at the Nairobi Women's Hospital in Nairobi and the V-Day Safe House, first safe house in Kenya for girls running away from early marriages and female genital mutilation.
  • In an event of corporate activism, V-Day LUNA (Luna Bar, a V-Day sponsor) united corporate employees and community members, including Tiffany Schlain of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, in two sold out benefit performance of "The Vagina Monologues" that raised close to $20,000 and celebrated vaginas in the boardroom.
  • London-Eve supported Amnesty International's launch of a two year Stop Violence Against Women Campaign with AI Secretary General Irene Kahn, Patrick Stewart and activist NAME. Event received worldwide media coverage.
  • V-Day Europe launched on February 14. National coordinators in the UK, France, Germany and Luxembourg have joined forces to promote V-Day in Europe, with the support of the European Commission! Between 14 February and mid-March, V-Day performances of "The Vagina Monologues" took place in Trier, Saarbr¸cken, Frankfurt am Main, Bochum and Bremen, in Paris, Brest and other cities in France. To mark International Women's Day, an international team in Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg hosted a V-Festival throughout the month of March 2004 with a wide range of women's art events, performances of "The Vagina Monologues" in French and German and culminating in a transnational, multilingual V-Day performance on 14 March 2004 that brought together all European partners in a celebration of the movement. On March 8 in London V-Day Westminster, the first ever performance of "The Vagina Monologues" by women politicians of all political parties, took place. MPs including Joan Ruddock, Caroline Spelman, Sandra Gidley and Oona King, as well as the Home Office minister Caroline Flint, performed alongside Jerry Hall, Meera Syal and Anita Roddick before a packed audience at the Criterion Theatre in London! In addition, there were over 70 local performances across the UK.
  • Overall media coverage of the local V-Day 2004 events continues to grown in campus and regional papers. Events receive major local coverage as well as placement in key papers i.e. The Boston Globe and Chicago Tribune and on local TV stations nationwide.

    And, of note are a few places V-Day events did not happen - China, Chennai, and Catholics. In the southern Indian city of Chennai (Madras), police banned a production of "The Vagina Monologues" scheduled to include Jane Fonda and Marisa Tomei. Despite a successful staging earlier in the week in Bombay, Madras police canceled the production with the claim that it posed a threat to public order. In Beijing, China, authorities also shut down what would have been the first production in the Chinese language. And in the United States, the Cardinal Newman Society continued its campaign that pushed several V-Day productions at Catholic Colleges and Universities to off campus locations. There is always next year!

    The seventh (7th) V-Day season has come to an end. We are immensely proud of the women and men, true vagina warriors worldwide, who brought V-Day into their communities, raising funds and awareness, and making sure that not another woman or girl will experience violence.

    What's next? Believe it or not, we are already gearing up for 2005; our spotlight is Sex Trafficking-specifically working with the "comfort women' of World War II to demand an apology from the Japanese government, while spotlighting the emerging commoditization of young girls world wide in a growing epidemic of sex trafficking. More details will follow throughout the year, including our plans to take V-Day to Tokyo.

    Thank you to each and every one of you who support V-Day in so many ways. I hope you feel proud of what V-Day has accomplished the past few months to radically change women's lives around the world.

    Kind Regards,
    Jerri Lynn Fields
    Executive Director

    P.S. No time for rest at V-Day-we are weeks away from launching "V is for Vote," a campaign to educate and inspire women and men to get out the Vagina Vote-the VOTE AGAINST VIOLENCE! For a sneak peak, visit www.vday.org/vote