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READ Eve's Welcome to 2011 Activists


10/04/2010

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Dear V-Activists,

Welcome back. Welcome for the first time. Thank you for caring about women and girls. Thank you for loving your community. Thank you for giving your time and energy and talent and leadership and wild vagina and vagina-friendly selves. Thank you for being brave and stepping up and knowing you can change what is happening and knowing we are all responsible for protecting women and girls, which leads to empowering them. Thank you for knowing that when women are free and safe, life itself is protected, as is our future. Thank you for being on this journey and bringing others with you. Thank you for doing all this in such difficult times across the planet, a time when so many are unemployed and living in poverty, when our precious earth is imperiled. Thank you for not succumbing to cynicism and hopelessness. We know that for over 13 years V-Day has, through you, moved into 140 countries, and raised 75 million dollars for grassroots groups. We know you have created a vagina revolution around the world, broken taboos, given women opportunities to find their voice, educated and welcomed men.

Last year alone you raised 255 thousand for the women of Congo and City of Joy. Thousands of you signed up on the Congo wall and many of you brought gifts for the City of Joy through the registry. You did hundreds of Congo teach-ins. You put on performances of Memory, Monologue, Rant and a Prayer and got lots of men to be involved. You put on performances of Any One of Us and raised consciousness about the thousands of women in prison because of violence committed against them. You raised nearly 5 million dollars which stayed in your communities. You helped shelters stay open and kept hotlines running, and you supported the small but powerful groups in your neighborhoods that work every day to keep women safe. You allowed and encouraged women to tell their stories, to release their pain, to find their joy and pleasure. You supported our sisters throughout the world. You dressed in red and pink and spiced up over 900 college campuses. You did 5000 performances in over 1400 places and even where there was danger you kept going with grace and humor. You helped keep open our safe houses in Kenya where girls are no longer being cut and are going to school. You helped open a second house so more girls are being saved. You gave much aid and support to our sisters in Haiti and Pakistan. You educated girls in Sri Lanka, Congo, Kenya and the US, and you were audience and support to Swimming Upstream, a glorious piece of theater written by the women of New Orleans about what really happened in the flood after Katrina. You supported Afghan girls who will grow up to be empowered activists, and who will one day lead their country, You piloted readings of I am An Emotional Creature from Mumbai to Los Angeles. You launched V-Girls, the next step of the V-Day movement.

You V-rocked the world.

So now the work continues. Let’s go further this year. Let’s be bolder and more daring. Let’s take V-Day to more places, places where women and girls are most invisible and in the greatest need. Let’s raise more money for our local groups and be more inclusive in our casting and networking. Let’s support those who have lost their jobs and homes and those who are suffering financial abuse as well as physical and sexual abuse. Let’s continue to raise funds for those still reeling from the flood in Pakistan. Lets keep our focus on the women of Congo as we are poised to open the City of Joy on Feburary 4, 2011. Lets keep our eyes and hearts on this victory and see it as the turning point where women of Congo begin to rise up and take back their power.

This year our spotlight is on the women of Haiti. V-Day supported 67 Haitian women leaders who came together in July to create a plan to end violence against women and girls there. It is ambitious and brilliant. Lets support their plan and raise money and consciousness as we know that before the earthquake nearly 74 % of the women of Haiti were suffering rape or battery and it has escalated in the wake of the disaster. Let’s give them our full attention and educate ourselves about the history of Haiti so we can change the future.

Let’s put on more productions and wear our reds and pinks and take to the streets and speak truth to power, and while we are doing all of this let’s be very sure to take care of ourselves and take time to linger and love the earth and love our bodies and find pleasure and beauty and rest and dream.

Your love and support and activism has inspired me and made me better. Let’s make this our most powerful, transformational, outrageous year yet.

My love and deepest gratitude,

Eve Ensler
V-Day Founder & Artistic Director, playwright, activist