At this month's vigil, featuring V - formerly Eve Ensler, activist and author of The Vagina Monologues - we will honor mothers and mourn lives lost to gender-based violence.
Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils throughout the pandemic in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. At this special Mother's Day vigil, we will mourn deaths resulting from gender-based violence and acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and girls.
V (formerly Eve Ensler)
When we think about people over the last century who have truly tackled challenging topics and taboos, we would definitely put V at the top of the list. V has been named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Changed the World” and The Guardian’s “100 Most Influential Women.”
V is the Tony Award-winning playwright, activist and author of the Obie Award-winning theatrical phenomenon The Vagina Monologues, published in over 48 languages, performed in over 140 countries. Her plays include Lemonade, Extraordinary Measures, Necessary Targets, OPC, The Good Body, Emotional Creature and Fruit Trilogy. She starred in her one-woman play, In the Body of the World, adapted from her memoir. Her most recent book, The Apology, about the death of her father, has been called “transfixing,” “revelatory” and “cathartic.” Her writings appear regularly in The Guardian and TIME Magazine.
In September 2020 and amidst the pandemic, V presented That Kindness, a play based on stories and interviews with frontline nurses. The play premiered with a cast featuring Rosario Dawson, Marisa Tomei, Billy Porter, and Rosie O’Donnell.
V is the founder of V-Day, a global activist movement which, over the course of more than two decades, has raised over 100 million dollars to end violence against all women and girls -- cisgender, transgender and gender non-conforming. She is also the founder of One Billion Rising, the largest global mass action to end gender-based violence in over 200 countries, and co-founder of the City of Joy, a revolutionary center for women survivors of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Dr. Jeannie Blaustein is the founding board chair of Reimagine End of Life. Jeannie has spent her professional career as a psychologist, pastoral counselor, educator, and community leader supporting people in the work of having difficult conversations about love, loss, and conflict. Over the last 15 years, Jeannie’s work has gravitated toward the field of end of life, and in particular, the work of palliative care and advanced care planning, perhaps the most difficult conversation we must each have with our loved ones, yet by far one of the most important.
Jeannie has served as a hospice volunteer and trained at The Open Center NY to become a doula to accompany the dying. She has taught the Psychology of Death Andy Dying as Adjunct Faculty in the Pace University Psychology Department, and currently serves on the Steering Committee of “What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life”, a community-based initiative in NY’s Jewish Community dedicated to bringing a spiritually-grounded approach to Advance Care Planning, where she is also a certified What Matters Facilitator, Instructor and Supervisor. She has been privileged to work as a chaplaincy intern on the Geriatric and Palliative Care service at Mt. Sinai hospital in NYC.Jeannie is a licensed clinical psychologist, and holds a Doctor of Ministry degree. She has completed the early stages of chaplaincy training. Jeannie graduated from Brown University and holds an M.A. from New York University (both in History).
In addition to her role as Reimagine’s current board chair, Jeannie currently serves on the boards of Auburn Theological Seminary, Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, Jonas Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, The Lilian and Benjamin Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute, and the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, where she serves as board president. Past board service includes the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and Congregation B’nai Jeshurun where she served as chair and president.
Molvia Maddox is first and foremost a mother – a nurturer. She works as a Change Management business consultant. Naturally empathetic, she constantly strives to understand how people can best be supported to achieve their potential and embrace change.
31 years ago, her perspective on life and death was altered forever with the birth of Krystie, her third child. She recalls, “A mothers’ intuition told me something was not quite right about her health, but it would take over 6 years for medics to listen.” Previously dismissive of Molvia’s concerns their tests revealed Krystie had a genetic fault which causes the degenerative neurological disease Friedreich's Ataxia; the exact condition Molvia had identified through research.
This revelation set in motion a way of thinking and action that refused to accept society's assumptions and classification of people who live daily with impairment or disability. She explains, “We knew that Krystie’s life would most likely be short and over time her muscular degeneration would challenge physical ability – but I felt the most important tool that any of us have is our mind, which is limitless. We focused on her hopes, dreams and aspirations; found ways to move towards them; to live daily with purpose and joy. Alongside this, I also focused on helping her siblings understand that they too needed to live without survivor guilt.” We were all with Krystie when she died age 29 in April 2019; she had lived a good life; she was happy.
We faced serious problems; challenging the status quo is never easy but I found quality information empowering, enabling us to check and challenge medical/educational opinion to ensure we got the very best decisions and support. This experience led us to build Melting IceCubes Health – because things can seem solid and cold, but surrounding conditions can change states, melting away huge problems.
Dr. Su Yon Pak is the Senior Director and Associate Professor of Integrative and Field-based Education at Union Theological Seminary. In this hybrid faculty-administrator position, she envisions, creates, and oversees the curricular and co-curricular work of the Office of Integrative Education including field education, clinical pastoral education, chaplaincy, and ministerial formation. She is also a spiritual director. Her life and research passion include: contemplative traditions, the elderly and spirituality, chaplaincy, women’s leadership, criminal justice, and integrative and critical pedagogies. Dr. Pak’s publications include: Sisters in Mourning: Daughters Reflecting on Care, Loss, and Meaning (Co-edited with Rabbi Mychal Springer, Cascade, 2021); “Is Any-Body There?” in Religious Education (2021), “Cultivating Moral Imagination in Theological Field Education” in Asian and Asian American Women in Theology and Religion: Embodying Knowledge (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), “Coming Home/Coming Out: Reflections of a Queer Family and the Challenge of Eldercare in The Diaspora” in The Journal of Theology And Sexuality, and co-authored Singing the Lord’s Song in a New Land: Korean American Practices of Faith (Westminster John Knox, 2005). Photo: Mohammad Mia
Aditi Sethi, MD, is a hospice and palliative medicine physician who has spent the last 10 years working in an inpatient hospice setting. She trained as a death doula and is co-founder of Center for Conscious Living and Dying, a collaboration with Cassie Barrett, a green cemetery operator. She is also an Indian devotional and American folk musician. Aditi performs ceremonial grief concerts with her group "The Gate Keepers" both in person and on Reimagine’s virtual platform. She lives in Black Mountain, NC with her husband, Jay, and their three precious children.
As a nonprofit organization, Reimagine draws on the arts, design, medicine, and spirituality to transform taboo cultural attitudes around death and grief, and to address the inequities surrounding how we live and die. With over 100,000 attendees, Reimagine End of Life festivals have quickly become the largest end-of-life events platform in the United States. Reimagine was named a "World Changing Idea" by Fast Company Magazine.
Join us on a mission to help people face death, and in so doing, to embrace this one precious life. During the pandemic, and through Reimagine's community and events platform, we have sparked more than one thousand diverse virtual experiences--from candlelight vigils to trainings on social justice, from art shows to advance care planning seminars--working with hundreds of organizations in the process, and creating healing, positive spaces for over 50,000 Americans in the last couple months alone.