Thursday, June 22, 2006

VDAY event 2 - i do tricks and drugs but i am not a murderer

ny One Of Us: Words From Prison
June 21 Wednesday 8:00pm (doors at 7:00PM)

Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, 1941 Broadway, 65th Street and Broadway

More than 90% of women in prison have experienced violence in their own lives. Words From Prison will reveal the connection between women in prison and the violence that often brings them there. Presented in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union, this event will bring forth raw voices of fierceness and honesty written by women from prisons across the nation and performed by great actors, moving forward toward healing, understanding, and change, ultimately impacting laws and treatment of incarcerated women. There has been outreach to women in five major federal prisons for their stories. Images from Deborah Luster’s book One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana will provide the visual backdrop for the evening. The evening will benefit ACLU and the NYCLU. KimberlĂ© Crenshaw, Rosario Dawson, Swoosie Kurtz, Mindy McCready, Rosie O’Donnell, Phylicia Rashad, Kemba Smith, and more will perform. Directed by Rhodessa Jones. Sponsored in part by The New York Women’s Foundation.

i enter the space to see many women who looked like clients or exclients... talked to the ACLU, asked for a series of their DVD on Rights issues to be sent so i can use them in class, took my seat
a young man in ripped jeans sat down... joked about being my blind date...he was there for a woman's study class and didnt want to be there..
we talked about Woman's studies and the event began

eve ensler and Kimberle crenshaw talked about their projects and how this came to be

seats on stage with podiums.. Kemba Smith, received clemecy from Clinton for her time served... she read a story of violence about the night she talked to the police and how her boyfriend beat her til she remembered the story. the night was readings of women about their experiences, pre prision and post prison and violence. Lots of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence

kemba Smith, Rosario Dawson, Shirley knight , Rosie O’Donnell, Phylicia Rashad, Betty gale tyson, and angela wilson

Betty Gale Tyson read her story about her poor chooses that lead her to prostitution and drug use but not murder got her 25 years after she was beaten by police and signed a statement of confession.. 25 years later, someone came forward to tell the truth and she was release. A standing ovation was given

Angela Wilson, stripper, dancer who committed murder


i realized quickly that there was an undercurrent of women who experienced the same as the writers...women who were abused, abandoned, raped, lived in fear and lived in jail at one time...
I was not one of them...
i was in another group... the helpers the storycollectors
the caring, the brave to show up

my seat mate belonged to the third group.... Men who were there... Eve Ensler calls them Vagina Warriors..

there were things I couldnt relate to as i have not been abused
there were more things that my seat mate could not relate to because he was a male
i was a woman and understood the oppression

i am finding that being out of work for 2 months has taken down some of the shield i have worn for 25 years to do my work. i feel the stories deeply and wonder if i will still be effective when i have to hear them and listen.
i think the break is good for my soul and spirit...
i view the stories differently
i hear them differently
i think actually will be better at hearing them
a break has worked to make me more humane and human
like a cleansing of the palatte