This Valentine’s Day, Eve Ensler of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is hosting an artistic uprising in Washington Square Park to end violence against women and girls. Expect speakers, great signs, and a Ranting Box.
Eve Ensler was a teenager in the 60s, and has put that era of resistance under a microscope throughout her decades of art and activism. The New York Times once called her groundbreaking episodic play The Vagina Monologues "probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade." Eve knows the crucial role that visual symbols and evocative words such as Rosie the Riveter, I Am a Man, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, or pink pussy hats — together with massive protests — have played in amplifying the call for liberation of women, African Americans, and the LGBTQ community. "That's when the movement really starts to rock," she says. "Artists are the gatekeepers of truth, and I think that when we open the doors for artists to really come out, we begin to get out of the binaries. We begin to get into the wonder and the ecstasy and the passion and the rage, and all the places we normally don't allow ourselves to go. That's the level we have to go to now."
Tonight Eve will mark the fifth anniversary of One Billion Rising, a mass action she founded to combat violence against women in human history. The campaign was launched on the 15th anniversary of V-Day, the anti-violence activist movement she founded in 1998. Tonight the still-vital groups will host a massive rally in New York's Washington Square Park in response to the current political climate and the man she calls America's reigning "predator-in-chief." It's a declaration of solidarity with all those who are threatened by the administration: including refugees, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, African Americans, the indigenous, the poor, and women and girls at risk of violence.
"What we've learned with V-Day over the last 10 years is that it's impossible to address violence against women without addressing all the intersecting realities," Eve explains. "Racism, economic inequality, climate change, war, transphobia, homophobia. One of the great things that's happening in this time of resistance is that people are finally breaking out of their silos, and understanding that."
Eve has brought together an awesomely eclectic lineup of activists and artists for the unconventional Valentine's Day bash, including Valarie Kaur, Ally Sheedy, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and the organizers of the Women's March. The audience will also be welcomed on-stage to rant in the name of revolution. "We're going to have a Ranting Box on stage and people are going to be inviting up from the audience to voice what's in their heart. It can be ranting, it can be weeping, it can be wailing, it can be singing, it can be whatever they're feeling. I think right now people are feeling fiercely traumatized and violated, and they need to have their voices heard."
Join the V-Day revolution in Washington Square Park tonight or at a sister rally across the U.S. and in 200 countries worldwide.
Text Hannah Ongley