Now Is The Time to End All Oppression and Violence: It’s No Coincidence April Is Earth Month, Victim’s Rights Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst environmental catastrophes to hit the United States in the wake of Climate Change. Setting the stage for the 10th Anniversary of Eve Ensler’s V-Day Celebration in 2008, Ensler opened the ceremony by saying, “New Orleans is the “Vagina of America.” For some, the statement seemed derogatory and demeaning. For others, Ensler’s metaphor framed the events leading up to and following Hurricane Katrina as a toxic microcosm of racism, prejudice, sexism, and environmental injustice that proliferates in America today.
“Welcome to the Wetlands,” Ensler spoke from her new monologue. “We call her sultry and sexy when we crave her… But when she is hurting, when she is waving for help, we ignore her and let her drown…. If we honor her… If we heal her… If we praise her… We change her story and the story of women.”
Fast forward nearly ten years later, we are facing frightening reminders that America’s culture of violence appears to be stronger than ever. The systems of patriarchy, misogyny, racism, and white supremacy seem to reign at the highest levels. With a President in office who talks about “grabbing p—-” and at the same time signs Executive Orders calling for the end of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is an air of total disregard for the respect and protection of women and Mother Earth as the vital sources of creating and sustaining life as we know it.
However, while the culture of violence seems to be stronger than ever, the power of the people working from a place of peacemaking and nonviolence is even stronger. Look at the Women’s March on DC and the nationwide protests against the Muslim Ban. And once again, we will witness history unfold as over 100,000 marchers head to Washington, D.C. and sister marches across the country on April 29, 2017 for the People’s Climate March. Coinciding with President’s first 100 days in office, the People’s Climate March will stand in resistance of Trump’s Executive Orders to allow the continuance of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the demise of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Reflecting on the V-Day Movement and Eve Ensler’s decades-long work toward ending violence against women, there are countless women and children who have endured the life-altering trauma of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or rape. On a much larger scale, our own planet has fallen victim to the same destructive forces–stripped and raped and pillaged all for the lust of oil, lumber, precious stones and minerals, meat and seafood, and the list goes on. But, perhaps as damaging is our silence in times that we need to adamantly and vocally act to oppose violence of all kinds–against women, against children, against our planet, Mother Earth.
Now is the time to speak. Now is the time to act.