Last Thursday night playwright and activist Eve Ensler spoke to a crowded ballroom in Santa Fe as part of her book tour for I Am An Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. Her publicity describes the book as a “celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams, and become the women they are meant to be.” Looking around me I loved seeing teenage girls to senior adults enthusiastically cheering her on.
Eve Ensler is well know for The Vagina Monologues which has been performed around the world since 1994 when it broke new ground. She found that, “after every performance women were waiting to share their own stories of survival, leading her to see that The Vagina Monologues could be more than a moving work of art about violence; she saw that the performances could move people to act to end violence.”
In 1998, on Valentines Day, she formed the V-Day movement which has continued to expand over the past twelve years. “The V-Day movement has been built, activist by activist, on the notion that grassroots women are powerful change-makers who can and must direct the future of their communities.” Check out their website to learn about projects they are doing around the world.
Recently I became familiar with a writing workshop she led for 15 women at New York’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility that has been made into a documentary film. Most were convicted of murder. “Through a series of exercises and discussions, the women delve into their pasts and explore the nature of their crimes and the extent of their own culpability. The film culminates in an emotionally charged prison performance of the women’s writing (the first edition of “Any One of Us”) by acclaimed actors Mary Alice, Glenn Close, Hazelle Goodman, Rosie Perez and Marisa Tomei. The film documents both the wrenching personal journeys undertaken by the inmates to find the words that tell their own stories, and the power of those words to move the outside world. ” The documentary is excellent. Board member Regina Ress and I watched it together and highly recommend it. You can purchase a copy at V-Day’s Store.
As we watched the documentary and again as I listened to Eve Ensler speak I realized the importance of forming Healing Voices – Personal Stories. V-Day is an international organization which I highly admire but there is so much work to be done in our own communities here in the United States. We need to increase public awareness. We need to provide positive models for how women can get out of abusive situations and inspire them on their journey. We need to spread the word of filmmakers and other artists already creating outstanding and inspiring work and we need to create our own. Please join us on our journey. Share your talents. Begin by commenting on this blog.