February 14th 2019 will mark the eighth year that Green School High School will host an annual VDay event. It has become one of the school’s longest standing traditions. The first year we acknowledged VDay, the entire high school got up on the Sangkep floor (we didn’t even have a stage back then) and sang ‘Same Love’ for the community. This past year, we had student-led, parent-led and teacher-led workshops, as well as an evening theatrical performance.
VDay at Green School has certainly evolved. We were blessed to have a visit from Eve Ensler and Monique Wilson in 2016 and their words inspired more actions and performances–VDay became bigger that year than it had ever been. We are also a bigger community now. Even though so much has changed over the years, what has always remained the same is the spirit of rising as a community through art, theatre, education and dance. Opening up artistic spaces for expression allows all community members to create safe spaces to engage in dialogue about a challenging topic. Rising through dance allows the community to stand together – to become allies to those who might face injustice, inequality, systemic oppression, or acts of violence. It is that essence of safe artistic expression that has contributed to our VDay traditions at Green School.
But the journey hasn’t always been easy. Opening up spaces for people to speak about violence against women and girls can be challenging, especially in a school that has young students in attendance. Each VDay at Green School is designed to be inclusive of all genders, all ages, all sexualities and all cultures. Each year, we make every effort to include all members of our Green School community as well as our local Indonesian community and organizations. We also include teachers and administration from across the school to ensure that students experience the day at developmentally appropriate ways.
On a personal note, I feel so blessed to be a part of a community that considers issues of social justice as integral to our collective sustainability. That said, I know that there are concerns in the community about VDay this year. There also seems to be some confusion about the events of the past and the intentions of the people organizing them. As part of this community of learners, I can say honestly that we are still learning and evolving every year. However, the teachers who have been involved in VDay have always had sincere intentions and students’ best interest in mind. If there are concerns or questions, please direct them to me, another member of the VDay team, or the school administration.
Or, better yet – come and get involved! There are many ways that parents and community members contribute to this event, and we would always love the support.
Emily on behalf of the VDay team