FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Leah L. Laxamana
V-DAY FWN ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE CAMPAIGN PRESENTS
A ONE-NIGHT-ONLY BENEFIT PERFORMANCE OF “THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES”
May 13, 2011, 7:30 PM
Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness, San Francisco
2011 Vagina Warriors Selected; Spotlight: Claire Joyce Tempongko Verdict Overturned; Men Pledge Against Violence Against Women
San Francisco, CA – May 6, 2011 - Filipina Women's Network (FWN) in collaboration with V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by shattering culture taboos with a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues. Working at the intersection of art, social action and politics, FWN empowers Asian Pacific American women grassroots activists to become leaders, turning pain to power and transforming their respective communities.
Headlining the all-women volunteer cast comprised of local Asian Pacific American community leaders, executives, young professionals, mothers and students are:
California Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Fiona Ma
San Francisco School Board Commissioner Emily Murase, PhD
Domestic Violence Consortium Executive Director Beverly Upton
San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women Commissioner Julie Soo, Esq.
Assistant District Attorney Liz Aguilar Tarchi, Esq.
“Domestic abuse is a hidden secret in our community,” says Gloria T. Caoile, who has produced the performances in Washington, DC and Las Vegas, Nevada. “It is critical that we raise our consciousness about the insidiousness of violence at all levels – from a sampal (brutal slap) to a casual put down. All the cast and crew members are volunteers and community folks who signed up just to get on stage. They did so because they understand and want to participate in ending violence in the Filipino and Asian communities.”
The performance will benefit My Sister’s House, V-Day Spotlight 2011: Women and Girls in Haiti, and the Filipinas Against Violence Campaign. Two ways to support the campaign:
Sponsor a support ad to help in the publication of the V-Diaries, FWN's anti-violence resource guide and show playbill. Go to www.ffwn.org/events to sponsor an ad. Limited ad space still available. Call 415.935.4FWN to reserve your space.
Patrons are encouraged to sponsor tickets for domestic violence agencies and shelter residents so they can attend the show. To sponsor, go to www.ffwn.org/events or call 415.935.4FWN.
Tickets are available at City Box Office by calling 415.392.4400 or online at www.cityboxoffice.com. Tickets are $28 for seniors and students, $38 for general admission and $100 for VIP seating. Group tickets are also available.
2011 Vagina Warriors Selected
Over the years since FWN launched its first show in 1994, FWN encountered incredible women and men working to end violence against women and girls in their communities. These women and men have often experienced violence either personally or witnessed it within their communities and dedicated themselves toward ending such violence through grassroots means. We call these brave women and men “Vagina Warriors”. Vagina Warriors know that the process of healing from violence is long and happens in stages. They give what they need the most, and by giving, they heal and activate the wounded part inside.
Many Vagina Warriors work primarily on a grassroots level. Because what is done to women is often done in isolation and remains unreported, Vagina Warriors work to make the invisible seen. The 2011 awardees will be honored during the benefit performance. They are:
Nwe Oo, Wellness Advocate, Community Health for Asian Americans. Nwe has suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband. She has had counseling, divorced her husband and has sole custody of her 3 young boys. She lived in a shelter to protect her family. She now counsels other refugee women who are suffering domestic violence. She has been an advocate for families suffering PTSD from living in refugee camps and not knowing how to deal with the stress of a new country.
Noelani Sallings, President, DAWN – Democratic Activists for Women Now. After being emotionally abused and raped, Noelani did not become a victim. She became a rape crisis counselor to overcome her own rape and worked with the youth to use music as an outlet for healthy relationships. She went back to school to earn her undergraduate degree in Psychology and later became a candidate for School Board.
Katrina Socco, San Francisco Bay Area Coordinator, AF3IRM. Katrina is a survivor of sexual assault and an abusive relationship. She has turned her experiences to fuel the need for women's activism and leadership notably coordinating tri-cultural solidarity campaigns in support of the Filipina Comfort Women and against Prop 1017.
Susie Quesada, Executive Vice President, Ramar Foods International. Susie has been a dedicated supporter of FWN for a number of years. Her most outstanding contribution to the Filipinas Against Violence Campaign is her company’s nationwide distribution of the V-Diaries: Anti-Violence Resource Guide. When she sensed resistance from the company truck drivers, delivery employees and sales staff about carrying magazines with the word 'vagina' on the cover, she told them, "This is about taking a stand against abuse of Filipina women and girls. These magazines contain powerful messages that violence against women must stop. You are all bringing these magazines to areas our company serves and your action could result in saving one woman's life."
Claire Joyce Tempongko Verdict Overturned: No justice for family of domestic violence murder
On March 30, the state appellate court overturned the murder conviction of Tari Ramirez, citing incorrect jury instructions about what constitutes murder versus manslaughter, and introducing the possibility that the case may have to be retried. This decision reopens many partially healed wounds. The California Attorney General has requested a review of the March 30 ruling with the California Supreme Court.
The 2000 murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko, a 28-year old Filipina woman who was stabbed 21 times by her ex-boyfriend, Tari Ramirez, in front of her two young children, stunned the community. It compelled the City of San Francisco to create the ‘Justice and Courage Oversight Committee’ with the Commission on the Status of Women to investigate the City's system-wide response to domestic violence. In 2002, the committee released “Justice and Courage: A Blueprint”, which outlined recommendations to remove the gaps and barriers in the criminal justice and social service systems to prevent future deaths. FWN joined the Commission to ensure the report’s recommendations are implemented, the gaps and barriers are closed, Tari Ramirez is arrested and prosecuted, and public accountability is put into practice by including community members and city departments so they can work together to end domestic violence in San Francisco. FWN's anti-violence campaign keeps the memory of Claire Joyce Tempongko alive but most importantly to end violence against Asian Pacific American women and girls.
Following the murder, Ramirez fled to Mexico. By no small miracle, he was apprehended there in 2006 and brought to trial in 2007. In September 2008, Tari Ramirez was convicted of second-degree murder and later sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.
Meanwhile, Claire Joyce's mother, Clara, struggled to make sense of her daughter's violent death while attempting to create a normal environment for her two grandchildren now left traumatized and motherless. Overcoming her feelings of hopelessness and bouts of depression, Clara has become an outspoken advocate for better measures to fight domestic violence.
The Vagina Monologues benefit performance is dedicated to the memory of Claire Joyce Tempongko that she may get the justice she deserves.
“Handprints: Men Against Violence Against Women” Pledge
The highlight of FWN’s annual Anti-Violence Campaign is the Handprints Pledge during the benefit performance on May 13. David Chiu, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, will lead the pledge and will be joined by other community leaders and the men and boys in the audience. The Men Against Violence Against Women Campaign is about building men’s capacity to challenge harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their vital role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity.
About Filipina Women's Network (FWN)
FWN is the non-profit organization founded to raise funding and awareness of the activities, careers and status of women of Philippine ancestry living in the United States. FWN is committed to fostering the socioeconomic, political, and educational advancement of Filipina women through cultural heritage events, career initiatives and professional development programs. FWN strives to enhance public perceptions of Filipina women's capacities to lead, change biases against Filipina women's leadership abilities and build the Filipina community's pipeline of qualified leaders, to increase the odds that some will rise to the President position in all sectors.
More info: www.ffwn.org.
About Filipinas Against Violence Campaign
Filipinas Against Violence is the Filipina Women's Network's annual anti-domestic violence campaign in collaboration with Eve Ensler's V-Day organization to raise awareness through theatre, popular culture and education about the high incidence of violence in Asian homes and intimate partner relationships. Our mission is to encourage Filipina and Asian women in abusive relationships take action and seek help. Engaging the Filipino and Asian communities through the V-Day shows and hearing the women's stories "hits home" and helps the Asian community understand the broader connections of Asian values such as respect for women, dignity, family, equality and justice to social and economic issues and to class and religion.
More info: www.ffwn.org/vdayfwn.
V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler's award winning play The Vagina Monologues and other artistic works. In 2010, over 5,400 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions of people about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic Of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. In 2001, V-Day was named one of Worth Magazine's "100 Best Charities," in 2006 one of Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities, and in 2010 was named as one of the Top-Rated organizations on GreatNonprofits.
More info: www.vday.org
About “The Vagina Monologues”
Hailed by The New York Times as "funny" and "poignant" and by the Daily News as "intelligent" and "courageous, The Vagina Monologues, which was first performed off-Broadway by Ms. Ensler, dives into the mystery, humor, pain, power, wisdom, outrage and excitement buried in women's experiences. Through this play and the liberation of this one WORD, countless women throughout the world have taken control of their bodies and their lives; giving voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public.
Hailed as the bible for a new generation of women, it has been performed in cities all across America and at hundreds of college campuses, and has inspired a dynamic grassroots movement to stop violence against women. Witty and irreverent, compassionate and wise, Eve Ensler's Obie Award winning masterpiece gives voice to real women's deepest fantasies and fears, guaranteeing that no one who reads it will ever look at a woman's body, or think of sex, in quite the same way again.
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