I am not a Valentines day hating woman but I have spent my last 3 or four February 14th celebrating WOMANHOOD with VDay!
After performing in The Vagina Monologues at my University I found great interest in V-Day and dedicated time to it as an activist and as a feminist.
As I have shared before, my relocating to NYC has brought me closer to the home base of V-Day and in close quarters with the founder of V-Day, Eve Ensler. This year I got to spend V-Day in the same room as her and a couple hundred other beautiful and generous women.
I completely fell in love with the works and words of Danielle Laporte, the Author of “The Desire Map.” Everyone at the Just Love event received a FREE, you read right, a FREE copy of The Desire Map Workbook when she spoke at the Just Love event. I cannot wait to dig into her books and blog and teachings and whatever I can find.
Spending V-Day with many many many beautiful and brave and outstanding women was more than I could have asked for.
The Hammerstein Ballroom was full of the love and energy that was filling buildings and hearts all over the world from Right here in NYC to The City of Joy in Bukavu!
What is a Tuesday night without a couple of revolutionaries?! I was honored to attend the second event in the Rise For Justice “Coversations With Eve” series at ABC Carpet & Home on Tuesday evening with Dr. Denis Mukwege and Eve Ensler. Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy but was also the seven year anniversary of the meeting of Eve and Dr. Mukwege. Who wouldn’t want to be in a room with two incredibly and relentlessly brave and courageous activist as they commune for their anniversary?
Dr. Mukwege is the Director and Founder of the Panzi General Referral Hospital in Bukavu, South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Mukwege performs life-saving fistula surgeries on girls and women who have been brutally raped and mutilated in the Congolese war. 100% of the proceeds from this event went to benefit the Panzi foundation to help further the vision of Dr. Mukwege and support the women of the Congo.
Dr. Mukwege recounted the first time he met Eve and invited her to visit him in Bakavu, Eve accepted but Dr. Mukwege thought she would be like most others “Everyone accepts but no one ever comes” he said. Well in true Eve fashion she showed up. much to Dr. Mukweges surprise and delight. Dr. Mukwege shared with the audience how a night spent with Eve and his patients dancing and talking helped him to return to his work not only as a doctor but as an activist for the abused and endangered Congolese women. Because of Eve and Dr. Mukweges commitment to justice and safety and well being for women the Congolese V-day campaign and The City of Joy foundation was born. Watching these two converse was a pleasure in and of itself! It was all but a “No you’re more awesome” contest at moments. The amount of love and respect they have for one another was so evident and so understandable seeing that both Dr. Mukwege and Eve have dedicated and risked their lives to better the lives of others. They are two of the people in the world that understand and honor the connection that we all have to one another and how intricately our destinies are intertwined.
The past month has included a few interactions with Eve and I can only describe it as a series of enlightening and inspiring aha moments. The inspiring thing about Eve, to me, is that she is all about the work, something I strive to keep in mind when I go about doing my own work as an actor or an activist or an advocate.
The night was wonderful, the room was full but quiet so that every word could be heard during the conversation. I brought along two friends with me who enjoyed themselves just as much as I did and I think Its safe to say that Emma Myles and I are officially ‘cool’ lol. I was lucky enough to meet her at a Vday meeting that, ironically, took place after I had been working as a background actor on Orange is the New Black, the hit series from Netflix in which Emma plays an inmate by the name of Leanne Taylor. I got to see her again last night!
Me and Emma Myles
Check out more of my photos from last night below!
On Saturday evening in a dimly lit intimate space in the back of ABC carpet and home the calligraphy of monk Thich Nhat Hanh hung on the walls wine and water were sipped from stemless glasses Visionary and Activist Eve Ensler shared the wonder and bravery of Afghan Activist Malalai Joya.
I was excited to receive an email invitation to this event, I was not familiar with Malalai but I knew Eve was going to be there and I just had to go.
I was in the company of two great ladies and we were all delighted to meet Eve, be introduced to the brave and freedom loving spirit of Malalai Joya and be in a room filled with such great energy. Vday board member and Actress Rosario Dawson was also in attendance, that was a pleasant surprise!
Malalai is in NY as a part of a US lecture/speaking tour that continues on to Boston next. This VDAY event was part of the #RISEFORJUSTICE campaign birthed by VDAY organizers after a wonderful turnout for the #1billionrising campaign. I am a an active part of the VDAY movement, my journey with VDAY began a few years ago when I performed in a production of The Vagina Monologues and has only gotten more amazing and rewarding since.
If you have not heard Malalais brave, inspiring and ongoing story I encourage you to read up on her at Malalai Joya.com and if you are already familiar with her I promised myself I would share the indiegogo page for the film that is being made about her HERE!. (I love indiegogo and other sites like it and gofundme) donate if you can or just share the info!
This was a wonderful even that I learned soooooo much from and really made me proud to be part of Vday, proud to be a woman that is fighting for what is right and extremely humbled to be in the presence of such greatness! Check out my photos below.
Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh
Lovely Ladies! My Roadies! Candyce and Yasmine enjoying themselves.
Myself and Actress Candyce A.
This young lady came all the way from Canada, and wore this awesome #1Billionrising shirt, to see Eve Ensler.
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