V-Day's Five City 'Turning Pain to Power' Brings International Attention to the Women and Girls of the DRC
V-Day's 'Turning Pain To Power Tour' took place during the month of February making stops in NYC, LA, the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta and Washington, DC.
The tour featured Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2008 UN Human Rights Prize and Founder of the ground breaking Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in conversation with Eve Ensler, reaching thousands of women and men throughout North America and bringing attention to the violence against women in the Congo, and V-Day's joint campaign with UNICEF - STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: POWER TO THE WOMEN AND GIRLS OF THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Finale event at Howard University in Washington D.C. The event featured Congolese singer Edith Sodolo and welcomed students and politicians alike, raising awareness about the violence in the DRC and how they can help end it. The evening was introduced by V-Day organizer Sabrina Garba and brought a new audience to the discussion as well as many members of the D.C Congolese community.
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While in D.C, Eve and Dr. Mukwege met with key decision makers on Capitol Hill including Senators Feingold, Boxer, and Durbin and Congresswomen Schakowsky and Maloney, among others.
Busboys & Poets, an infamous D.C coffeehouse welcomed Eve Ensler who spoke about the Congo and performed two monologues to a sold out gathering over 200 people
V-Board Members Beth Dozoretz and Pat Mitchell hosted a gathering of prominent D.C figures. A great group welcomed the discussion including Hunter Biden and his wife, BET's Deborah Lee and many more.
Sold out event at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia with special introduction by V-Board member Pat Mitchell. The event, coordinated and produced by long-time V-Day activist Nikki Noto, was preceded by a special reception hosted by V-Day Atlanta, Pat Mitchell, Jo Edwards, Karyn Greer, Ayesha Khanna, Vikki Locke, and Laura Seydel in the Cyprus Room at the Carter Center. The event was made possibly by Full Circle Living.
San Francisco Bay Area
A noontime speaking engagement at UC Hastings Law School, introduced by alumna and UNCIEFL Executive Director Ann Veneman. The students were receptive and eager to take on the justice and impunity issues as virtually no one is tried in Congo for rape.
The Global Philanthropy Forum/World Affairs Council hosted an evening at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City. After the event, Jane Wale, President & Co-Founder of the Global Philanthropy Forum, hosted a private dinner for Eve and Dr. Mukwege with Global Philanthropy Forum members, many of who are active in the region.
Event at San Francisco's Herbst Theatre as part of City Arts & Lectures "Art & Politics" series. Eve and Dr. Mukwege spoke to an audience of 1000 followed by an intimate reception at Jardiniere Restaurant, hosted by Traci Des Jardins, Beth Karpfinger, Wynnette LaBrosse, and V-Board members Emily Scott Pottruck and Sheryl Sandberg.
A speaking engagement at Stanford University with a special introduction by professor Anne Firth Murray, Founding Executive of the Global Fund for Women. The event was co-organized by on the ground V-Day activists Fatimah Hassan and Harriet Clark.
Los Angeles was the next stop on the tour where V-Day hosted its third annual LA Luncheon hosted by Jessica Alba, Eve Ensler, Anne Hathaway, Sherry Lansing, Paula Wagner and V-Day Board members Carole Black, Ilene Chaiken, Rosario Dawson, Linda Pope, and Kerry Washington at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. Guests included Charlize Theron, Maria Shriver, Maria Bello, Christine Lahit, Camryn Manheim, Dylan McDermott, and the event raised awareness and funds for V-Day's Congo Campaign, bringing the issue to the Hollywood community as well as the national and international press.
On V-Day February 14, the University of Southern California's 6th annual V-Day benefit production of The Vagina Monologues, organized by Maxi Solters, included special guests Eve and Dr. Mukwege giving an in depth discussion with the student audience about issues facing women in the DRC, and how they can help end the violence. V-Board member Rosario Dawson was on hand to introduce the two speakers.
New York City
A welcome dinner for Dr. Mukwege hosted by Eve. Members of the Congolese Diaspora (about 50 people) came together to honor and speak with Dr. Mukwege.
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A meeting of 35 male activists came together to develop V-Day's upcoming V-Men Campaign, marking the beginning of the new V-Day V-Men movement.
A private reception hosted by Harry Belafonte, Peter Buffett, Eve, Donna Karan, and David Stone at the Urban Zen Center/Stephen Weiss Studio to raise funds for V-Day's work in the Congo.
V-Day's five city 'Turning Pain To Power Tour' launched to a sold out audience at the 92 Street Y in New York City on Wednesday, February 11. The night, introduced by UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman, featured Eve's in depth and poignant interview with Dr. Denis Mukwege from the Panzi Hospital the DRC. Through this public interview, Eve and Dr. Mukwege exposed femicide and the sexual torture of women in the DRC, and relayed the stories of women survivors on the ground who are coming together and breaking the silence.
Eve and Dr. Mukwege took a long awaited meeting with Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. At the meeting he committed to visiting Panzi Hospital to see for himself the impact of sexual violence on Congo's women and girls.
A special session was held with UN ambassadors at the International Peace Institute, including the UK Ambassador John Saywers, and other UN officials from Uganda and Rwanda who are key stakeholders in the region surrounding Congo. Eve and Dr. Mukwege lobbied them to use their clout to bring about a political solution to the crisis in Congo so that the sexual violence ends and women are protected by MONUC, the UN's peace keeping forces. They also stressed the importance of women being part of the peacemaking process.