By: Jennifer Elrod
Recently Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues debuted at the Sierra Madre Playhouse. Performed and presented by Planned Parenthood Pasadena of San Gabriel Valley kicked off both Sunday and Monday performances to a sold out audience. The performance was in support of V-DAY 2011 Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women and Girls.
Proceeds from the two performances went to support the life-saving cervical, breast and testicular cancer screenings, contraceptive services, well-woman exams, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, education and counseling visits that are just some of the many preventative health care services provided by Planned Parenthood.
Going into the performance, I was a bit nervous because of the negative stigma and publicity surrounding Planned Parenthood in media. To my surprise, I discovered all of the services and good things that Planned Parenthood does provide and that they were established in 1933. Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive health care and family planning through medical services, education, and advocacy. Planned Parenthood provides birth control, life-saving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, screenings for common health conditions, annual exams, vaccines, and more. All services are offered at low-to-no cost to individuals and families, and 99% of our patients have no health insurance. Our service area extends east to west from Glendora to Glendale, and north to south from the San Gabriel Mountains to the San Bernardino Freeway. Politics aside, I think it is extremely important to provide people with education and services in health care especially with the unemployment rate at about ten-percent.
V-Day's Spotlight Campaign for 2011 will be on the Women and Girls of Haiti. The Spotlight will highlight the high levels of violence against women and girls in Haiti, and will focus on the increased rates of sexual violence since the devastating earthquake that took place in January 2010. All funds raised through the Spotlight Campaign will be used to support a revolutionary national program in Haiti lead by a coalition of women activists - including longtime V-Day activist Elvire Eugene - that will address sexual violence through art, advocacy, safe shelter, and legal services.