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2008 Women of New Orleans and the Gulf South

“Although we cannot prevent such events as Hurricane Katrina, we can be there with and for each other when they occur. We can extend our hand; we can remember those who have lost their homes, their jobs, their minds and their way. We can bring water and food and hammers and nails to rebuild the broken walls. We can support and empower the women and the men left behind so that violence does not become the solution or the norm. When disasters occur, we can stand in solidarity and make a commitment to end violence itself.”
- Eve Ensler

V-Day’s 2008 Spotlight Campaign focuses on The Women of New Orleans and the Gulf South. These women - Katrina Warriors - have come to symbolize the universal plight of women in conflict zones-- high levels of violence; economic hardship; racism; and public structures that failed to protect them. Katrina Warriors also highlight the dire need for resources to this still devastated community.

As Eve Ensler writes in her latest book Insecure At Last: Losing It In Our Security Obsessed World, “What undid the people of New Orleans was, and remains, the lack of response, the feeling of being forgotten, the lack of a plan, the waiting, the humiliations that occurred on the backs of humiliations. The lack of respect.”

After witnessing the challenges facing the women of post-Katrina New Orleans, V-Day began working together with service providers, first-responders, artists, educators, activists and local V-Day organizers to create The Katrina Warrior Network. This will be a community of grassroots groups dedicated to helping women and girls living in New Orleans or returning there to rebuild their lives. The Katrina Warrior Network is working collaboratively with V-Day to unite, activate, involve, and transform the New Orleans community, forming a structure that will last through the rebuilding and beyond.

In order to highlight the work Katrina Warriors are doing to revive the community, locally based events celebrating New Orleans neighborhoods and culture will lead up to V-Day’s ten year anniversary celebration, V To The 10th, at the New Orleans Arena at the Superdome, April 12, 2008. The events planned will focus on the healing power of culture as well as the particular resilience of women (as the purveyors of culture) and the artists and performers of New Orleans.

Through the 2008 V-Day Spotlight Campaign on the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf South, thousands of women and men throughout the world will be exposed to the issues facing women in New Orleans. The Spotlight Campaign will raise funds to ensure lasting impact on the ground. The disbursement of funds will be determined by the needs of women in New Orleans and will be directed toward sustainable, long-term projects that will have maximum impact and fuel growth for women in businesses. We will be targeting projects that economically empower the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf South, focusing on self- sustaining businesses that are improving the economy of women as well as spreading, increasing and sustaining their wealth.