Playwright Eve Ensler Is Recruiting Creatives for an ‘Artistic Uprising’ Against Immigrant Detention at the El Paso Border

The 24-hour vigil is one of multiple protests for the 4th of July weekend, but it specifically calls to artists to respond.

Eve Ensler at the Los Angeles LGBT Center's
Eve Ensler at the Los Angeles LGBT Center's "An Evening With Women" at Hollywood Palladium on May 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Next week, many in the US will crowd around backyard BBQs or lay back in lawn chairs lit up by gaudy firework displays—all in the name of celebrating America. At a time when what it means to be an American is being bitterly contested, however, playwright Eve Ensler is planning on marking the 4th of July weekend in a very different way. She is calling on artists of all types to join an “Artistic Uprising” in El Paso in protest of the inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers. 

“This is an EMERGEncy,” Ensler said in a statement inviting artists to participate. “Stand up for freedom, dignity, and the legal rights of immigrants and asylum seekers. End the diabolical inhumanity in detention centers and demand freedom, justice, humane treatment for all those seeking safety and a better way of life.

Ensler, who is most famous for her feminist play the Vagina Monologues, is launching the happening through her non-profit V-Day organization. The call asks for artists to bring their “music, poetry, drums, words, passion, theatre, bodies, outrage and love” to the detention centers at the border for a 12-hour vigil beginning at Friday, July 5 at 12:00 pm.

“By showing up, making art and noise, we RISE against the systemic violence and denial of human rights that immigrants and refugees experience,” Ensler writes in the call. “We RESIST the governments and institutions that create and support inhumane conditions of detention. We UNITE in our demand that these camps be closed, and that children be reunited with their parents—the most fundamental and basic human right.” 

Ensler co-founded V-Day, an organization seeking to end violence against women, on Valentines Day in 1998. In 2012, the group launched One Billion Rising, a global campaign that sponsors international rallies in support of the cause every February. For next week’s “Artistic Uprising,” other sponsoring organizations are the Border Agricultural Workers Project, La Mujer Obrera, and Alianza Nacional de Campesinas.

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Please come join me!! #ThisIsAnArtisticUprising . Border Agricultural Workers Project, La Mujer Obrera, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas & One Billion Rising Present an ARTISTIC UPRISING at the El Paso Border . JOIN US as we RISE at the El Paso border. Bring your music, poetry, drums, words, passion, theatre, outrage, and love. Stand up for freedom, dignity, and the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers. End the diabolical inhumanity in detention centers and demand freedom, justice, humane treatment for all those seeking safety and a better way of life. Support the front line groups who are doing the urgent work on the ground. SHOW UP! MAKE ART! MAKE NOISE! . Artists and activists attending include: writer Denise Chavez, Alixa Garcia of Climbing PoeTree, Poet Laureate of Texas Carrie Fountain, playwright Eve Ensler, journalist/organizer Rosa Clemente, playwright and Founder of The Trevor Project James Lecesne, Gabriel Mendez, Kelly Curry of Code Pink, photojournalist Paula J. Allen, singer Michaela Harrison, artist Sekou Luke, playwright Kirk Lynn, Border Agricultural Workers Project, La Mujer Obrera, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas and One Billion Rising. List in formation, more artists joining. . Together, we will RISE against the systemic violence and denial of human rights that immigrants and refugees experience. We RESIST the governments and institutions that create and support inhumane conditions of detention. We UNITE in our demand that these camps be closed, and that children be reunited with their parents – the most fundamental and basic human right. . #CloseTheConcentrationCamps #RiseInSolidarity #FamiliesBelongTogether #ImmigrantsAndRefugeesWelcomeHere . •For full details, to attend, or if interested in performing, visit: onebillionrising.org/artisticuprising . #ArtisticUprising#BorderAgriculturalWorkersProject#LaMujerObrera#AlianzaNacionalDeCampesinas #1BillionRising#RiseResistUnite#UntilTheViolenceStops @one_billion_rising @vdayorg

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Given dire headlines about the treatment of immigrant children in modern-day concentration camps, Ensler’s happening isn’t the only pro-immigrant protest taking place next week. On Tuesday, July 2, the advocacy groups MoveOn, United We Dream, American Friends Service Committee, and Families Belong Together will lead protests outside local congressional district offices around the country demanding the closure of immigrant detention centers.


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