Posts Tagged ‘Cynthia Peterson’

I still can’t believe I was in the cast of The Vagina Monologues, the award-winning play that is performed in colleges & universities across the United States.  I thank Eve Ensler for interviewing the 200+ women; I thank the women who told their stories to Ms. Ensler; I thank everyone who supports spreading awareness about and putting an end to the atrocities against women and girls in every culture on this planet. I got onto the Internet to find articles about Ms. Ensler and the play, so, I keyed in the words: The Vagina Monologues Eve Ensler in Google search and found:

Eve Ensler spoke eloquently on TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) in 2004.  In 20 precious minutes, Eve talked about how The Vagina Monologues came to be; Marsha Lopez in Afghanistan; Esther Chavez in Juarez, Mexico; Agnes In Kenya, help stop female genital mutilation; her belief in Mr. Alligator who would come to her rescue when she was a girl; 1 in 3 women are beatened or raped; Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg; purpose & intent; date-rape, drugs; Vagina Warriors; when we give what we want the most.

Elisa Southard+Vagina Monologues cast member Teresa LeYung Ryan+Mary Knippel photo by Ellen Gailing

author Elisa Southard with Vagina Monologues cast member Teresa LeYung Ryan & creativity coach Mary Knippel photo by Ellen Gailing

I am so honored that I got to speak some lines from the play. For the past 8 years I’ve been working on my second novel, the story of a first-time published author who is afraid to talk about human-trafficking. I got my chance to speak out with Ms. Ensler’s script.

The performance was a benefit for Community Violence Solutions Caring attitude from Director Kathy McCarty, her production team, and members in the cast (women of all ages and diverse cultures from the community); audience was gracious; folks from Community Violence Solutions showed dedication.

I learned to listen for the lines assigned to a fellow actress so that I could speak mine in a seamless fashion.  I learned to get into my body while listening to all the lines; creating a circle of energy was most important.

Thank you, community spirits, for stepping out to say: “Stop the violence.  Stop the suffering.”

Thank you, Elisa Southard, for talking to Director Kathy when she announced her desire to direct the play again.

Thank you, Mary Knippel, for getting me there on time on performance day, for getting me home after a long day.

Thank  you, Pat Phillips, Lakshmi Kerner, Amira, Leslie, Debbie, all of Lakshmi’s friends, Joey, Joey’s sisters, Michaela, Mike (sorry I didn’t get a chance to say thanks in person).  Thank you to all my friends, my sis & bro-in-law, my hubby for sending good thoughts.

I’ve met remarkable women in this production; hope to connect with them this year. I reconnected with Cynthia Peterson of CVS; what a joy. Where is our colleague and poet Shirley Phelps?

Ellen Gailing took vibrant photos; I’ll post more as I receive them.


Teresa LeYung Ryan

I, Teresa LeYung Ryan, use my novel Love Made of Heart to:

  • shed light on the secret agonies suffered by immigrant women, men and children.
  • inspire understanding of mental illness/traumas of the mind.
  • help survivors of violence find their own voices through writing.

Love Made of Heart, the story that sheds light on the stigmas & secret agonies suffered by a mentally-ill immigrant mother.

Our mission statements seem to ripple outward, then circuitously flow back to us in order to give us reflection so that our messages take on larger and stronger ripples.

Dear Writers, Colleagues, Mentors, Friends, Family Members,     Vagina Monologues fundraiser for Community Violence Solutions 2010

Director Kathryn McCarty has asked me to ask you to help spread the word about this benefit performance.  Please use Facebook, Tweeter, your blogs, emails, etc. to extend the invitation to your friends who live in the SF Bay Area.  You have my gratitude.

On Monday April 12, 2010, 7:30pm  Let’s pack Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA to support V-Day & our communities at the one-night performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. In spite of an already packed schedule, Director Kathryn G. McCarty was compelled to take on this project–a fundraiser for Community Violence Solutions in response to the crime of last October when a former student of hers was gang-raped at Richmond High School.  Kathy said: “I am afraid we are kidding ourselves if we think violence, or apathy to violence just happens in Richmond.  It’s epidemic. .. It’s going to take the entire Bay Area Community to reach out.  We all have to take a stand in teaching young people how to think for themselves. There are alternatives to violence.”   “V” in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. Tickets through General Admission $40; Students & Seniors $25; buffet dinner & show $65  OR (for half-price general admission tickets). Tell Director Kathy (925) 676-5705 that cast member Teresa LeYung Ryan sent you (if GoldStar runs out of half-price tickets; Kathy can arrange for more half-price tickets). The show is produced by Galatean Players in association with Contra Costa College.

Craneway Pavilion is at 1414 Harbour Way South, in the Marina district of Richmond, CA, convenient to the 580 freeway.

Could you email me as well if you can attend on April 12, 2010?  I’d like to look for you after performance and personally thank you. I’ll be updating my website with photos from rehearsals.


Teresa LeYung Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart
Here’s the backstory–the ripples . . . In April 2004 Poet and women’s advocate Shirley Itim Melo Phelps had invited me to Community Violence Solutions’ Evening of Awareness; Jackie Speier was the keynote speaker that night. The following year, Shirley, Cynthia Peterson and Rhonda James at CVS asked me to be their keynote speaker for Denim Day and Take Back the Night.

Yesterday April 3, 2010 after my first day of rehearsal of The Vagina Monologues, I came home and found photos from 2005 (when I had delivered  those 2 speeches for Community Violence Solutions).

I am honored to be included in the cast, all empowering women, guided by Director Kathryn G. McCarty who has reconnected me with Community Violence Solutions. In Eve Ensler’s play, the section about “what would your vagina wear?”  I’d say “ultra soft denim” to commemorate “Denim Day” which breaks the dress-code thus breaking the silence about sexual violence.

Teresa LeYung Ryan and Sergeant Sandra Douglas 2005 Denim Day

Teresa LeYung Ryan and Sergeant Sandra Douglas 2005 Denim Day

Here are exerpts from my April 27, 2005 speech at Pittsburg, CA.  (My friend, author Elisa Southard, and columnist Clara-Rae Genser were there that day in 2005, giving me moral support.)

The Denim Day Campaign began in 1999 with the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (also known as CalCASA) and the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women as part of an international protest of an Italian High Court decision to overturn a rape conviction because the victim wore jeans.  I am now quoting from CalCASA:

The justices dismissed charges against a 45-year-old rape suspect because his 18-year-old victim was wearing jeans at the time of the attack. The Court blamed the victim for the rape, stating in their decision that because the victim’s jeans were so tight, she would have had to remove them herself.  The judgment sparked a worldwide outcry from those who understand coercion, threats and violence that come with the act of rape.  The unpopular verdict became an international symbol of myth-based injustice for sexual assault victims.

Women of the Italian Legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans.  As news of the decision spread, so did the protest movement. Over 120,000 people throughout Los Angeles participated on Denim Day last year.

We are wearing jeans today, along with Community Violence Solutions and the City of Pittsburg, because we want to put a stop to the kind of thinking that says: ‘A victim can prevent rape if she really wants to, including knocking a gun out of the attacker’s hand.’”

Here are some chilling statistics.  I am quoting Cynthia Peterson, director for the Rape Crisis Center at Community Violence Solutions:

Approximately 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men are raped in adulthood………

Under the age of 18, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are victims of sexual assault.

We are here today to say NO to blaming victims.  NO to keeping silent.

We are here today to honor Sergeant Sandra Douglas and the community.

We are here today to WEAR DENIM!

# # # # # #

On a sunny day in November 2009 I was running errands in Berkeley when a newspaper headline stopped me.  “15-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped”  The last two words made me dizzy and sick.  I stood there, staring into the newsstand. Then the anger rose and I wanted the strength of ten Hercules, to be an avenger for the teenager.  Since that day I’ve been asking my angels to show me compassionate ways to help my community.

Last month, my friend Elisa Southard called Kathy McCarty on my behalf when she heard that Kathy was directing The Vagina Monologues.  Thank you, Elisa, for being there for me in 2005, for being here now as I am reminded that our mission statements do take on larger and stronger ripples.

More about Community Violence Solutions:    Since 1974, CVS has served as the umbrella organization for Rape Crisis of Contra Costa and Marin Counties, while providing a wide range of services to child and adult victims of sexual violence, their families and the community.

V-Day Until the Violence Stops is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery.

I had seen The Vagina Monologues 10 years ago when playwright and children’s book author Kim McMillon invited me. Marga Gomez, Rita Moreno and Vicki Lawrence delivered powerful performances in San Francisco. I remember seeing Patrise, owner of Gaia Books of Berkeley, and her friends, wearing red boas for V-Day.

As an author and a community spirit, I, Teresa LeYung Ryan, use my novel Love Made of Heart to:
• shed light on stigmas suffered by immigrant women, men, and children
• advocate understanding of mental illness/traumas to the mind and spread compassion
• help survivors of violence find their own voices through writing

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