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Vaginas Take Back Michigan Capitol



Robert McCann / Michigan Senate Democrats
rmccann (at); 517.980.3494

Susan Celia Swan / V-Day
susan (at); 917.865.6603
Kate Fisher / V-Day
kate (at); 917.291.3082

June 15, 2012 – On Monday, June 18th, Michigan Senators and Representatives will be joined by Tony Award winning playwright and V-Day Founder/Artistic Director Eve Ensler as well as local activists and actors for a special performance of Ensler’s award winning play The Vagina Monologues on the Michigan Capitol Steps. The performance, which will take place between 6pm and 8pm, is part of an organized response to the recent banning of Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown from publicly speaking in the House. On June 14th, Rep. Brown was banned by Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas and House Republicans for using the word “vagina” during a debate on a bill that puts new restrictions on abortion providers. Brown, who voted against the legislation, told supporters of the bill, “I’m flattered you’re all so concerned about my vagina. But no means no.”

"For 14 years at V-Day, we’ve seen the power of saying the word ‘vagina.’ We’ve seen how it’s freed women from their shame and empowered them to break the silence and become leaders in their communities. By saying the word ‘vagina’ and making it okay to say the word ‘vagina,’ we take away the humiliation, fear, and myths that often surround it," statedEnsler. "Censoring a woman for saying a word that is a body part that 51% of their constituents have is a repression that we have not and should not ever witness in this country."

Sen. Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D- East Lansing), Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), Rep. Barb Byrum (D- Onondaga), Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes (D-Saginaw), Rep. Dian Slavens (D- Canton Township), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D- Detroit), Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield), Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills), and Rep. Joan Bauer (D-Lansing) will perform along with Ensler and local actors.

“I look forward to joining these powerful women from across the nation in sending a message that we are proud of ourselves, proud of our bodies and proud of the message that we have to offer,” said Senator Whitmer, the highest-ranking woman in Michigan Government. “I want my two daughters to know that their Mom and countless other women stood up for them as they grow into the next generation of strong women.”

“They banned me from speaking because I dared say vagina, the correct, medical name of apart of a woman’s anatomy these lawmakers are trying to regulate,” added Representative Brown. “I’m outraged that there are Michigan legislators that not only want to dictate what women can do, but what we can say.”

Local and state activists as well as actors have also signed on to perform and protest on the Capital Steps on Monday. Over the past 14 years V-Day has mobilized activists from more than 140 countries and worked tirelessly on a grassroots level to demand an end to all forms of violence against women and girls. This latest action in Michigan will call on the many college and community V-Day organizers in the area to step up and let the House Republicans know that banning ‘vagina’ is not acceptable.

“Nowhere is freedom of speech more essential than in our legislative bodies,” said Senator Warren. “What we are facing is not simply a question of pro-choice or anti-choice policy – this is about whether women will be allowed to freely participate in the debate. It is an issue that should disturb and engage Michiganders from every corner of our state.”

Activists who would like to get involved can contact Valerie Keefe who will provide further information. Valerie can be reached at or by phone at (517) 316-6420.

There is also a Facebook event page for the event

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About V-Day
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 2012, over 5,800 V-Day benefit events took place produced by volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world, educating millions ofpeople about the reality of violence against women and girls. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $90 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, reopened shelters, and funded over 14,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. Over 300 million people have seen a V-Day benefit event in their community. V-Day has received numerous acknowledgements including Worth Magazine's 100 Best Charities, Marie Claire Magazine's Top Ten Charities, one of the Top-Rated organizations on Philanthropedia/Guidestar and Great Nonprofits.