A sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden of 18,000 gathered to witness V-DAY 2001: Take Back the Garden, the smashing success of an especially courageous, innovative and funny performance of the Vagina Monologues. Eve Ensler, the creator of the Vagina Monologues and V-DAY, calls the event “a vision of human life where girls and women live free, safe, equal and with dignity.” Held just days before Valentine’s Day, V-DAY’s purpose was to show that while the world celebrates love, women suffer daily from violence in every hemisphere of the globe.
All-star performers in the V-DAY 2001 included, among others: Jane Fonda, Sharon Gless, Glenn Close, Queen Latifah, Calista Flockhart, Gloria Steinem, Claire Danes, Kathy Najiamy, Nell Carter, Brooke Shields, and Oprah Winfrey, who performed “Under the Burqa” a special tribute to the women of Afghanistan.
“Under the Burqa” was a heart-wrenching, spine-tingling story written by Ensler to personify the daily terror and misery of women’s lives in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s harsh gender apartheid rule. Oprah Winfrey gave an “Oscar-winning” performance to the piece as she described women in Afghanistan crying out in pain with no one to hear or acknowledge their suffering, because in Afghanistan life for women under the brutal Taliban hardly exists. An Afghan woman wearing the all-inhibiting burqa appeared as vocal sounds of pain and agony filled Madison Square Garden.
The Feminist Majority Director of Global Outreach, Cherreka Montgomery, served as the V-DAY North America Regional Coordinator, overseeing more than 220 entries in the V-DAY Stop Rape Contest. One of the five North America Stop Rape finalists was Angela Caswell, a member of the Feminist Majority’s Leadership Alliance at the University of Delaware.