By Jeannine Etter
On what is commonly known as Valentine’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate romantic love, there is another international celebration being held on the same day, and this year will mark its 15-year anniversary.
It’s “V-Day” ... and “V” is not for “Valentine’s." This “V” is for “Vagina.”
V-Day is the brainchild of writer and performance artist, Eve Ensler, of the critically-acclaimed show “The Vagina Monologues,” a play containing monologues on diverse facets of the female experience such as love, masturbation, orgasm, menstruation, birth, rape and female genital mutilation, while also touching on the numerous names for the vagina.
After speaking with many women about their experiences, she was compelled to a take action and to create a global nonprofit movement for change. According to statistics, one out of every three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime. With seven billion people on the planet, this number comes out roughly to one billion women being assaulted, so it would seem that humanity is in a crisis - and crisis means time for change. “
"One Billion Rising” is part of V-day’s global awareness campaign inviting one billion women, and the people who love them, to demand an end to violence against women and girls, one of the most pervasive of human rights abuses. Hundreds of events will be taking place all over the world expressing indignant, righteous outrage to inexcusable human rights violations by striking, speaking, dancing, singing, shouting, performing, boycotting and refusing to participate in the status quo of a system that accepts or normalizes any form of human rights abuses.
On Feb. 14, 2013, Oakland joins the international celebration of V-day’s global campaign with its own special performance ritual and celebration entitled “Night for the One Billion.”
The event is a “mash-up” of spirituality, politics and performance with Destiny Arts, Dance Brigade, Youth Speaks, Gina Breedlove, Holly Near, Fat Chance Belly Dance, Luisah Teish, Eve Decker of Rebecca Riots, Afia Walking Tree, Mona de Vestel and more.
Organizations present will include: IDEX - International Development Exchange; MISSSEY (for sexually exploited minors); V-Day’s program; City of Joy (located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo designed for women to heal from abuses and trauma); and Hand-to-hand, a self-defense organization. All labor is being donated.
Artists, healers, thinkers, celebrities, performers, ritualists, women, men and children from the community are gathering in Oakland to dance, heal, hope, love, inspire, mobilize and to rise. Community members of all cultures, genders, ages, backgrounds, orientations and religions, are encouraged to participate in this extraordinary community ritual and contribute to a live altar.
This is a spiritual occasion designed to draw attention to the human rights crisis while at the same time simultaneously shifting the energy around it by creating safe space and holding the collective consciousness for a violence-free planet. There will be a “flash mob” performance at the end of the evening’s event; a dance routine taught to participants and performed together.
The underlying idea being
that if women can express how they feel in dance, not being
quiet, not being ashamed and not having to be angry ... this is real, and this is
where empowerment begins. The intention, for Oakland’s
event, is for people to leave feeling hopeful and knowing how to engage and how
to make lasting, impactful change.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event lasts from 7 to 9:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway St. in Oakland.
Cost: $20-$50 sliding scale; FREE for youth under 17.
This is a fundraising event and 100 percent of proceeds go to IDEX women’s projects around the world and local organizations serving women and girls.
“ONE BILLION WOMEN VIOLATED IS AN ATROCITY - ONE BILLION WOMEN DANCING IS A REVOLUTION!”
Tickets, schedule, maps and volunteer info at: http://on.fb.me/118jFBh
To purchase tickets to the event, please visit: brownpapertickets.com/event/312857
To donate, visit: razoo.com/story/Bay-Area-Rising?referral_code=share