OVER 30,000 ATTEND V-DAY’S TENTH ANNIVERSARY EVENTS
SUPERLOVE Features Speakers, Art, Performance For All And Makeovers, Massage, Medical Testing And Healing Circles, And Yoga For Women Of The Gulf South Region
Coastal Women Coming Home Project Brings 1200 Women Displaced By Hurricanes Katrina And Rita Home For The Weekend With Support From V-Day
V TO THE TENTH Benefit of “The Vagina Monologues”
Features Performances by Jane Fonda, Rosario Dawson, Kerry Washington, Ali Larter, Calpernia Addams, Lilia Aragon, Stéphanie Bataille, Jennifer Beals, Ilene Chaiken, Didi Conn, Lella Costa, Alexandra Hedison, Shirley Knight, Kristen Krepela, Christine Lahti, Liz Mikel, Doris Roberts, Daniela Sea, Amber Tamblyn, Leslie Townsend, and Monique Wilson plus very special musical performances by Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Peter Buffett, Charmaine Neville and The Voices of New Orleans Gospel Choir
Over 125 Speakers, 40 Stars, 800 Volunteers Participate
Over $700,000 Donated For Local Efforts
April 16, 2008 - New Orleans, LA - V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, celebrated its tenth anniversary, V TO THE TENTH, in New Orleans Friday - Saturday, April 11-12 at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome. Organizers estimate that over 30,000 people attended the events over the two days. Thousands traveled from out of state and country for the events that featured over 125 speakers, over 40 stars (stars covered their own travel costs), a choir of 200, and over 800 volunteers providing their services free of charge. In conjunction with the events, V-Day will donate over $700,000 to groups in the region working to end violence against women and girls.
“Katrina exposed what was going on in New Orleans and the Gulf South: the lack of resources, the lack of care for its poor in general and its women in particular. There were so many reasons to hold V-Day’s 10th anniversary - V TO THE TENTH - in New Orleans, from the vanishing wetlands to the man-made levee failures that flooded the city to the abandonment and complete neglect of human beings. Violence against women was committed physically, economically and environmentally. We came to celebrate New Orleans, cherish it, protect it, just as we do our vaginas, and make sure it goes on and on. Women from all over the world came for the Katrina Warriors, the women of New Orleans and Gulf South who have kept their communities alive with devotion, hard work, sacrifice, humor and wit,” stated V-Day Founder/Playwright Eve Ensler.
SUPERLOVE - Transforming the Superdome
Over the two days, V-Day transformed the Superdome into SUPERLOVE - a place to heal, gather, celebrate and activate to change the story of women. Open free of charge, SUPERLOVE featured two days of revolutionary speakers, slam poets, singers, performers, storytelling, astounding art, and love. Special caring lounges were available to hundreds of women from the Gulf South including restorative yoga, massage, medical testing, healing circles, makeovers, and more. V-Day sponsored a V-Day activist suite where women and men worldwide gathered to network and meet one another.
Over 75 speakers, performers, and artists participated from New Orleans and the Gulf South along with speakers traveling to New Orleans from over all over the world. Participants included Ashe Cultural Arts Center’s Carol Bebelle, Fashion designer and Founder of the Urban Zen Foundation Donna Karan, Founder of the V-Day Safe House in Kenya Agnes Pareyio, Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Dr. Denis Mukwege, Head of Global Green USA Matt Petersen, actor Amber Tamblyn, AIDS-Free World and former Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis, financial expert Suze Orman, former president of Spellman College Dr. Johnnetta Cole, poet Suheir Hammad, writer Mark Matousek, and many more. For the full schedule and list of participants, visit vday.org/superlove.
SWIMMING UPSTREAM - Premiere of a New Play
On Friday evening, the floor of the Superdome was the stage for the premiere staged reading of “Swimming Upstream” featuring Troi Bechet, Asali Njeri DeVan, Anne-Liese Juge Fox, Briceshanay Gresham, Karen-kaia Livers, and guest performers Shirley Knight, Anna Deavere Smith, and Kerry Washington. For the last 14 months, a group of 16 local artists, partnering with the Ashé Cultural Arts Center, V-Day and Eve Ensler collaborated in the writing of Swimming Upstream, an original theater piece and artistic record of the experiences of New Orleanians. The play which tells the raw, lyrical, soulful stories of women who have lived through the flood with grace, rage, humor and great resiliency was written by Carol Bebelle, Troi Bechet, Reverend Lois Dejean, Asali Njeri DeVan, Anne-Liese Juge Fox, Adella Gautier Briceshanay Gresham, Herreast Harrison, Karen-kaia Livers Tommye Myrick, Cherise Harrison Nelson, Kathy Randels, Dollie Rivas, Dina Roudeze, Karel Sloane-Boekbinder and Carol Sutton.
Katrina Warrior Awards, honoring extraordinary women within the New Orleans community, were given to Cherise Harrison Nelson, a public school educator; Judy Watts of Agenda for Children; Monique Hardin of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights; Ann Milling of The Women of the Storm; and Dyan "Mama D" French Cole, a community leader. The awards were presented by The Men In Red, a group of local male leaders who supported V TO THE TENTH.
Saturday’s schedule began with the V TO THE TENTH SUPERLOVE Parade celebrating the women and men of New Orleans and highlighting the right to return home. Hundreds of women and men from the Diaspora, along with those currently living in New Orleans, joined Dr. Denis Mukwege from the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo for a symbolic and festive march starting at Congo Square and ending at the Louisiana Superdome.
V TO THE TENTH - Tenth Anniversary Benefit of “The Vagina Monologues”
A star-studded performance closed the two-day celebration with V TO THE TENTH, Saturday evening, April 12. Together on one stage - Calpernia Addams, Lilia Aragon, Stéphanie Bataille, Jennifer Beals, Ilene Chaiken, Lella Costa, Didi Conn, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda, Alexandra Hedison, Shirley Knight, Kristen Krepela, Christine Lahti, Ali Larter, Liz Mikel, Doris Roberts, Daniela Sea, Amber Tamblyn, Leslie Townsend, Kerry Washington and Monique Wilson joined V-Day for a once in a lifetime benefit event featuring performances of The Vagina Monologues, a special new monologue written by Ensler and performed by Liz Mikel, plus very special musical performances by Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Peter Buffett, Charmaine Neville and the Voices of New Orleans Gospel Choir Directed by Rev. Lois Dejean. The Times - Picayune described the evening as “a night to remember…a love fest, plain and simple.” The event was a benefit and raised funds for groups ending violence against women worldwide, and in the Gulf South region.
WHY NEW ORLEANS?
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. For 2008, V-Day’s Spotlight is on the women of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Leading up to April, thousands of V-Day benefits worldwide highlighted the daily ongoing work of women in their communities who have steadfastly kept New Orleans and the Gulf South alive with little to no resources. These women - “Katrina Warriors” - will be honored for their strength and resilience in the face of devastating loss. The spotlight will bring global attention and funds so that women may be safe and empowered in a region whose pulse beats like no other.
V-Day would like to thank the New Orleans community for welcoming, embracing and collaborating with V-Day to make the Tenth Anniversary events exceptional, life-altering experiences. V-Day stands beside you through the rebuilding and beyond. V-Day is grateful for the support of Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu and his staff, The City of New Orleans and Mayor C. Ray Nagin. V-Day would also like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who gave their time, talent and expertise with love and enthusiasm, making V-Day’s vision of V TO THE TENTH possible.
KATRINA WARRIORS NETWORK
The Katrina Warriors Network is the diverse body of individuals, affinities, organizations, and institutions doing work to support and enhance the well being of women and girls in New Orleans and Southern Louisiana, and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The founding Nodes of the Katrina Warriors Network are Ashe Cultural Arts Center, Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, The New Orleans Regional Alliance Against Abuse (2005-2006), and V-Day.
Beginning March 8 and in the weeks leading up to the April 11-12 events, the Katrina Warriors Network held a “Katrina Warriors Festival” - a slate of over 50 educational, cultural, and entertainment events of all shapes and sizes across the region, with the flurry of activity in New Orleans intensifying as April 12 neared. On April 8, V-Day and the Katrina Warriors Netork gathered with Eve Ensler and hundreds of volunteers to plant trees and marsh grasses at Bayou Sauvauge Nat’l Wildlife Refuge. The network has issued a preliminary briefing paper on the status of girls and women post disaster and created a local fundraising project “Hugs and Kisses,” which outlines ways to give back to local groups on the ground in New Orleans and the region. The “Hugs and Kisses” brochure was handed out to thousands of attendees during SUPERLOVE.
WOMEN OF THE KATRINA AND RITA DIASPORA - COMING HOME
V-Day and the Coastal Women Coming Home Project brought 1200 women of the Katrina and Rita Diaspora home to New Orleans to participate in advocacy, healing and community rebuilding at V TO TENTH. While there, the women experienced unique opportunities to share their stories with women from all over the world on the floor of the Superdome, and enjoyed the caring lounges, arts, speakers, and more. The Coastal Women Coming Project is in direct support of policy and practical issues that have a disproportionate effect of women, specifically low-income women and women of color in the Post-Katrina Gulf Coast.
V-DAY ACTIVISTS COMING TO NEW ORLEANS FOR V TO THE TENTH -
Women and men from all over the world traveled to New Orleans for the events. Below is a snapshot of V-Day activists who participated in the two days of activities traveling from 17 countries. The activists were honored on stage during V TO THE TENTH at the New Orleans Arena in tribute to the critical anti-violence work they are providing worldwide.
Nicoletta Billi - Italy
Rada Boric - Croatia
Danijela Dugandzic - Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sandra Ljubinkovic - Serbia
Elvire Eugene - Haiti
Myriam Merlet - Haiti
Ann Valerie Timothee Milfort - Haiti
Dr. Denise Mukwege – Democratic Republic of Congo
Dr. Carol Dehasse - Democratic Republic of Congo
Brenda Dardar Robichaux - New Orleans, Louisiana
Monique Wilson – the Philippines
Hibaaq Osman - Egypt
Afaf Jabiri - Jordan
Amal Mahmoud - Egypt
Nadine Abou Zaki - Dubai, UAE
Suzanne Blue Star Boy - South Dakota/Indian Country
Charon Asetoyer - South Dakota/Indian Country
Karen Artichoker - South Dakota/Indian Country
Christine Schuler Deschryver - Democratic Republic of Congo
Marsha Lopez - Guatemala
Yanar Mohammed - Iraq
Agnes Pareyio - Kenya
Marily Mondejar – the Philippines
Nighat Rizvi - Pakistan
Zoya - Afghanistan
Thorey Vilhjalmsdottir – Iceland
SPONSORS AND SUPPORT
V-Day’s anniversary events were made possible by the generous support of the NoVo Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Corporate support was provided by W Hotels New Orleans, TBWA/CHIAT/ DAY Los Angeles, and Vosges Haut Chocolate and media sponsors included Oprah & Friends radio, Glamour, O Magazine, Marie Claire, Bust, and ODE.
Additional sponsors and supporters of V TO THE TENTH and SUPERLOVE include the Ford Foundation; Donna Karan Foundation; Barbara Bridges; Oxfam America; L'Oréal Paris USA; Tides Foundation and Council Member Shelley Midura. SUPERLOVE Lounge Sponsors included Authentic Beauty; Magnet; The Urban Zen Foundation; Karma Krew; Roy Teeluck Salon; Lisa Caccavale; Matrix; Louis Licari; Victoria’s Secret Beauty; Gaiam; Young Living Essential Oils and Nexxus.