13 Feb V25: CELEBRATION, PROVOCATION, LIBERATION
V-Day Commemorates Twenty-Five Years of Global, Grassroots Activism, the Release of New Audioplay VOICES, & New Memoir Reckoning by Founder V (formerly Eve Ensler)
After twenty-five years, V-Day reflects on its legacy of organizing to end violence against women, girls and the planet; supporting grassroots anti-violence efforts; inspiring activists around the world to rise up as leaders in the global fight for gender equality
NEW YORK, NY — This month, V-Day, the global movement working to end violence against women, gender expansive people, girls and the planet, commemorates V25, its twenty-fifth anniversary of activism, advocacy and organizing led by survivors, artists and activists around the world. The very first V-Day benefit of founder V (formerly Eve Ensler)’s play The Vagina Monologues took place on February 14, 1998.
For 25 years, V-Day has worked at the intersection of arts and activism to shatter taboos, create space for women and the most marginalized, and initiate community-led culture and change. The driving forces behind V25 are: One Billion Rising creative resistance events happening worldwide AND two new pieces of art – VOICES and RECKONING – that help center the stories and experiences of women:
- ONE BILLION RISING activists in 88 countries will RISE For Freedom & to Create the New Culture at 1000 creative resistance events on and around February 14th. Dance is at the center of this art and activism campaign that addresses the devastating consequences of the ongoing vicious systems of patriarchy, imperialism, capitalism and racism in the world today and the destructive battle for power fought over women’s bodies and the body of the earth. Created by a community of 47 One Billion Rising coordinators located across the globe, the 2023 campaign will celebrate 10 years of OBR and 25 years of V-Day, urging communities to utilize art and activism to demand an end to violence against women, girls and the planet and to shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. Events are taking place now and will continue through 22 April, Earth Day.
- VOICES, a new interdisciplinary audio play by poet/organizer and V-Day Artistic Creative Director, aja monet, is grounded in Black women’s stories from the African continent and diaspora. Premiering late last year in Accra, Ghana, VOICES partnered with more than 30 local organizations and now stands as a seminal art-based organizing tool for local leaders in the same way The Vagina Monologues has. VOICES is slated to premiere in the United States in 2023.
- RECKONING, a new book from V (formerly Eve Ensler), tells the story of V’s journey as a writer and activist over forty years, inviting the reader into her journals and writings and collected over a lifetime of reckoning with the world’s injustices. It represents both the core of ideas that have become global movements like V-Day and One Billion Rising, and the methods through which V survived abuse and self-hatred, challenging the myths and narratives that have guided her life, and chronicling the career of her singular voice. RECKONING was released on January 31, 2022.
V-Day celebrates its 25th anniversary at a critical moment in the gender justice movement. With the gutting of Roe v. Wade, millions of women living in the United States are joining millions more around the world who lack access to basic reproductive health care and abortion. At the same time, women around the world are standing up for their basic human rights. Massive protests are taking place in support of women’s rights in Iran. Abortion is now decriminalized in Mexico. Indigenous women leaders in Brazil have won a historic election to Congress where they will work to uphold Indigenous rights and Brazil’s environmental governance. V-Day activists are running and being elected to political office such as Agnes Pareyio, Member of Kenyan Parliament, Rada Boric, Member of Croatian Parliament, and Lindsey Horvath, Los Angeles County Supervisor. The Rise Up Movement led by Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate is demanding climate justice. Women around the world are utilizing grassroots organizing to make their voices heard and create change.
“We have not yet dismantled patriarchy or ended violence against all women but we have certainly made a mark, catalyzed the dialogue, disrupted the normal, brought the issue to the center, opened safe houses and the City of Joy, shattered taboos, supported women across the world in having their voices and returning to their bodies,” said V-Day founder, V (formerly Eve Ensler). “We have built a global network of indomitable solidarity, inspired thousands of high school and college students to become activists, made amazing theater and art, raised millions of dollars for local grassroots groups, and stood with our sisters in prisons, in factories, in hospitals, in restaurants and with those fighting for their lives and liberation in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, and Congo. As we mark V25 with joy for the progress we have made and gratitude for every survivor, artist and activist who has been part of this struggle, we must also remember that our work is far from over. The push back is upon us. In every corner of the planet the rights of women are under siege. V-Day is here until the violence stops and all women are safe, alive and free.”
In addition to launching VOICES and RECKONING, V25 will also include major artistic works, performances, campaigns and demonstrations, including:
- One Billion Rising, a mass action campaign led by 47 global coordinators to mobilize, engage, awaken and join people across the planet to end violence against all women and girls.
- The City of Joy and V-World Farm, a transformative leadership center and eco-farm in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- The Beyond Incarceration project dedicated to amplifying the voices of formerly incarcerated women and incarcerated women led by restorative justice leader Roslyn Smith.
- The Dismantle Patriarchy campaign and annual contest, inspiring students to imagine a world where patriarchy is without significance
- RISE V25, a One Billion Rising global dance party and creative resistance events on 14 February featuring the theme “Rise for Freedom,” from patriarchy, impunity, poverty, oppression, division, exploitation, shame, control, individualism, and gender motivated violence and create the new culture.
Over two and a half decades, V-Day has grown into a grassroots movement spanning across two hundred countries, inspiring survivors, artists, and activists to organize and build communities that upend patriarchal injustices. Raising over $120 million dollars for grassroots anti-violence groups, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and safe houses, V-Day has impacted the way activists create community and create change on a global scale.
V-Day’s artistic works, performances, campaigns and demonstrations have included:
- The Stop Rape Contest
- Afghanistan Is Everywhere and the annual V–Day Spotlight campaigns
- The Safe House for the Girls in Narok, Kenya
- The Indian Country Project
- The V-Day March on Juárez to honor the missing and murdered women of Juarez, their families, and the grassroots groups
- The plays Any One of Us: Words From Prison; Swimming Upstream in New Orleans post-Katrina
- The award winning documentary films V-Day: Until The Violence Stops (Lifetime TV/Netflix) and City of Joy (Netflix)
- The City of Knowledge educational center for women and girls in Kabul, Afghanistan
- Artistic Uprising events in New York City, Paris, and on the United States, Mexico border
For 25 years, V-Day has unleashed vast anti-violence work on college campuses and in communities – visionary work that has been survivor-led and focused, all the while revealing the power of art and activism to change culture and systems.
With ingenuity and determination, V-Day activists around the world are tirelessly working to end harassment, rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery.
For more information, visit vday.org.