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V-Day 2011 Season of Events and Campaigns Kicks Off With The Opening of City of Joy in Bukavu, DRC

02/14/2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Susan Swan / V-Day
press@vday.org;
Jen Hirsch / Group SJR
jhirsch@groupsjr.com; 646.495.9723

V-DAY 2011 SEASON OF EVENTS AND CAMPAIGNS KICKS OFF
WITH THE OPENING OF CITY OF JOY IN BUKAVU, DRC


Over 1,500 Events Planned In 57 Countries; Local V-Day Fundraisers Raise Awareness And Funds To End Violence Against Women And Girls, Spotlight Haiti

New York, NY - February 14, 2011 - V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, announced its 2011 season of events and campaigns today. Since it was founded by playwright/activist Eve Ensler in 1998, V-Day has shattered taboos and raised over $80 million, inspiring communities to end violence against women and girls. Working at the intersection of art, social action and politics, V-Day empowers grassroots activists to become leaders, turning pain to power and transforming communities.

The 2011 season of events, which was kicked off with the opening of the City of Joy in Bukavu, DRC, is a global program which includes:

Over 1,500 V-Day benefit events in 57 countries around the globe
2011 Spotlight Campaign on the Women and Girls of Haiti
The Campus Accountability Project
Expansion of V-Girls
Eve Ensler book tour and speaking engagements

Opening City of Joy in Bukavu, DRC Huge Success
The V-Day 2011 season was kicked off on February 4th with the hugely successful opening of the City of Joy. This revolutionary new center will provide up to 180 Congolese women a year with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy; self-defense training; comprehensive sexuality education (covering HIV/AIDS, family planning); economic empowerment; storytelling; dance; theater; ecology and horticulture. Created from their vision, Congolese women will run, operate and direct City of Joy themselves.

The event brought thousands of Congolese women and men, grassroots activists, regional dignitaries, City of Joy residents and staff together with national and international activists, politicians and supporters, including:

V-Day Founder Eve Ensler
UN Messenger of Peace and V-Day supporter Charlize Theron
U.S. Ambassador on Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer
U.S. Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky
UN Special Envoy Margot Wallström
UNICEF DRC Representative Philippe Heffinck
V-Day Board Members Rosario Dawson, Carole Black, Pat Mitchell, Emily Scott Pottruck, Amy Rao, Susan Celia Swan
V-Day Supporters Dylan McDermott, Naomi Klein, and Thandie Newton
Congolese Ambassador to the U.S. Faida Mitifu
AIDS Free World Co-Founder Stephen Lewis
Panzi Hospital's Dr. Denis Mukwege

During the opening ceremony, V-Day Congo Director, Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver was presented with the inaugural "Turning Pain to Power" Award in recognition of her work to end violence against women and empower women and girls throughout the DRC.

V-Day Benefits: Global Benefit Events February through April
From February 1 - April 30, over 1,200 colleges and communities across the globe from Armenia to Peru, Angola to South Korea, and all 50 of the United States, will host 1,500 V-Day benefit events centered around Ensler's ground breaking play The Vagina Monologues, and will include readings of V-Day's anthology A Memory, Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer and Any One of Us: Words from Prison, documentary film screenings of V-Day: Until The Violence Stops and What I Want My Words To Do To You, Haiti and Congo teach-ins and house parties, and V-Men Campaign workshops. Each event will highlight Haiti, shining a global spotlight on the violence women and girls in post-earthquake Haiti face, and V-Day's work with women on the ground to end it.

2011 Spotlight Campaign: Women and Girls of Haiti
Each year V-Day increases awareness by focusing on a specific group of women in the world who are resisting violence with courage and vision. In 2009 and 2010, V-Day's Spotlight Campaign raised over $550,000 for V-Day's work in the Democratic Republic of Congo and City of Joy. In 2011, V-Day's Spotlight Campaign will be on the women and girls of Haiti. The campaign will highlight the high levels of violence against women and girls in Haiti, and will focus on the increased rates of sexual violence since the devastating earthquake that took place in January 2010.

Campus Accountability Project
V-Day and Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) will continue their joint campaign, The Campus Accountability Project: A Demand for Sexual Assault Policy Reform project (CAP) on campuses across the country. CAP invites college students to become advocates by researching their schools' sexual assault policies, finding out what their schools are doing to prevent and respond to sexual assault, and submitting their findings on our National V-Day/SAFER Campus Accountability Project Database, which can be viewed publicly. By combining forces on this multi-phase project, both organizations are helping to empower more students to take an active role in changing the ways in which their campuses prevent and respond to sexual assault, and spark a nationwide dialogue on what schools should be doing to properly educate and protect their students.

Eve Ensler Tours Europe and US during V-Season
In February and March, Ensler will speak in Paris, London, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, NYC, Miami, Haiti, Boston, and Washington, DC in conjunction with the paperback release of her best-selling work I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. In each city, V-Day will host fundraising events and activities. I Am An Emotional Creature, published by Villard, is made up of original monologues about and for girls from around the world and aims to inspire girls to take agency over their minds, bodies, hearts, and curiosities. Through rants, poetry, questions, and facts, we come to understand the universality of girls everywhere: their resiliency, their wildness, their pain, their fears, their secrets, and their triumphs. For a full calendar of public events, visit: vday.org/vtour2011.

V-Girls
V-Girls is a global network of girl activists and advocates who are empowering themselves and one another to create the change they imagine for the world. Inspired by I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls, the V-Girls Network is an online gathering place for girl activists and their advocates, defying geographical barriers to connect, act, share their creativity, and discuss issues that matter to girls. V-Girls Book Clubs engage girls and their champions locally as a platform to explore global issues facing girls and engage as activists by gathering to spark dialogue through I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. Join the V-Girls Network. Start a V-Girls Book Club and Download Academic Curriculum.

Eventbrite Online Ticketing Now Available for V-Day Organizers
In 2011, V-Day organizers will now have the option to sell tickets to their benefit events online through their V-Day event webpage. Using Eventbrite's online ticketing platform, organizers can offer tickets more easily to their audiences.

About V-Day
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler's award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2010, over 5,400 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. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities," in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities, and in 2010 was named as one of the Top-Rated organizations on GreatNonprofits.

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