SAT 2/28: FiRE presents Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues!

OFFICIAL V-Day information page:  http://events.vday.org/2009/Community/NewYorkCity,EastVillage(TVM)

Graphic design by Lorimaresque

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Krystle Cheirs (917) 601 0381 k.cheirs@gmail.com

V-Day New York City 2009 Presents an ALL-FILIPINA Benefit Production of

THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

Join Us as We Raise Funds and Awareness to End Violence Against Women and Girls in New York City and the Philippines!

February 4, 2009
New York, NY: On Saturday, February 28, 2009, VDay and Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) will present a 2:00 pm matinee with discussion and a 7:30 pm evening performance of Eve Ensler’s award wining play, The Vagina Monologues, at the Robert Moss Theater of 440 Studios in the East Village, directed by Ria Mae Binaoro.

Last year, over 4000 V-Day benefits took place around the world raising funds and awareness towards ending violence against women. Since 1998, V-Day and these highly successful events have raised over $60 million for local beneficiaries working to end violence against women and girls. Due to the organization’s commitment to ending violence against women, FiRE has joined this global movement as part of the VDay 2009 Campaign.

FiRE created this production with a Filipina ensemble since “as an organization, we wanted to make sure that this cast reflected the community we work with daily, and that everyone we encounter in Woodside, Queens is able to participate in this show…as a cast member, volunteer, or in the audience,” said Irma Bajar, the show’s producer. FiRE’s production of The Vagina Monologues has an ensemble consisting of twenty five Filipina women ranging in age and background: from high school and college students, community organizers, domestic workers, young professionals, amateur performers, first generation immigrants, to the American-born. “These women are all so different, yet are united by the history we share through the Philippines,” said Hanalei Ramos, FiRE co-founder and The Vagina Monologues coordinator. She further explains how “it’s been an amazing process and opportunity to create intergenerational dialogue between Filipina immigrants and those born in the States…people who may not have otherwise met unless FiRE created this space. There are limited venues that allow these types of friendships to develop in a place like New York City, where it’s easy to stay anonymous.”

The entire experience of building this community has been life-changing for many of the cast members and organizers. “We have people on that stage who have never acted in their lives, and they’re talking about feminism for the first time. They feel confident to express themselves creatively through The Vagina Monologues, and to me, that’s something revolutionary,” said Krystle Cheirs of cast members from Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support Network, and youth cast members from Girls Night Out youth, a project of FiRE at Philippine Forum for young Filipinas between 13 and 20, which Cheirs facilitates.

When Ria Mae Binaoro, the show’s director, was asked what has distinguished FiRE’s production of The Vagina Monologues with the others she has participated in before, she said, “even though many of the performers have little experience performing…women of different ages are sharing the stage together all telling the vast story of what it is to be a woman… and specific to our production – a Filipina woman. I am learning from and inspired by these women everyday.

FiRE’s all-Filipina production of The Vagina Monologues with the V-Day 2009 Campaign benefits Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support Network in New York City and LILA Pilipina in the Philippines, which serves the surviving comfort women of WWII’s Japanese Imperial Army. Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment is honored to participate in the V-Day movement to raise funds and awareness to end violence against women and girls in New York City, the Philippines, and all over the world!

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To learn more about the sponsoring and beneficiary organizations, please scroll below:


Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) is a mass-based women’s organization serving New York City and its surrounding areas. We connect the Filipino diaspora to the women’s struggle in the Philippines. By bringing woman-born and woman-identified people together, we challenge pervading stereotypes and create self-defined Filipina identities. We run programming and campaigns for Filipinas in the New York City area, including Girls’ Night Out (weekly youth space), Pinay Brunch (monthly brunch for Filipinas), Pinay HERstories (annual open house and reading series), and Diwang Pinay (annual anniversary Filipina arts and performance showcase.) FiRE is a proud member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. It is also one of the first overseas chapters of GABRIELA in the USA. For more information, please visit http://www.firenyc.org .

Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support Network is a support network of Filipina domestic workers from the tri-state area. Kabalikat works to attain rights and benefits for domestic workers and serves as a space for women to get together and discuss their lives as migrant workers, mothers, daughters, aunts. Recent campaigns for Kabalikat include Justice for Fely Garcia and Justice for Ate Putli. For more information about Kabalikat contact Michelle at the Bayanihan Community Center at 40-21 69th St. Woodside, NY 11377 or call (718)5658862.

LILA-PILIPINA is a GABRIELA-Philippines organization of World War II “Comfort Women” Filipina survivors. It opposes the Japanese government’s plan to set up a fund sponsored by private sectors, which allows the Japanese government to evade its responsibility to the women survivors for direct compensation. There have been a documented 200,000 girls and women abducted by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII from Korea, China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan who were forced into systematic rape and enslavement. They are now mostly in their 80’s and dying. In the Philippines, historians say there were about 1000 girls abducted. LILA-Pilipina, as supporters and advocates of women’s rights and for peace with justice, continues the campaign and the social movement for all the victims and survivors of violence on women in war and armed conflict situations.

V-Day is an organization spearheading the global movement to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery. By promoting creative events to increase awareness, raising money, and revitalizing the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations, V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls. The V-Day movement is growing at a rapid pace throughout the world, in 120 countries from Europe to Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and all of North America. V-Day, a non-profit corporation, distributes funds to grassroots, national and international organizations and programs that work to stop violence against women and girls. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine’s “100 Best Charities” and in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine’s Top Ten Charities. In ten years, the V-Day movement has raised over $60 million. To learn more about VDay and its campaigns visit www.vday.org.

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