Occidental College assistant politics professor Caroline Heldman’s efforts to help rebuild the lives of women in post-Katrina New Orleans is being recognized by the V-Day Movement with an $8,000 V To The Tenth Leadership Award.
An organization best known for its founder, Eve Ensler, and her production "The Vagina Monologues," V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls and promote creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence groups.
V-Day's 10th Anniversary - V To The Tenth - put a worldwide focus on Katrina Warriors, the women of New Orleans and the surrounding region who have kept their communities alive with devotion, hard work, sacrifice, and humor.
Heldman has been on the front lines since the first days following Hurricane Katrina, traveling there with groups of students who participated in rescue and rebuilding efforts. She serves as director of the New Orleans Women’s Shelter and works with Common Ground, a New Orleans-based grassroots relief organization.
"The V-Day Campaign has made a significant contribution to improving the lives of women across the globe," said Heldman. "I am honored to be recognized by this organization, and would in turn like to recognize the wonderful women of New Orleans whom I have been blessed to work with through the shelter. These women have given me more than I could ever give them."
V-Day has raised over $750,000 for groups in the region and established the V To The Tenth Spotlight fund to provide support to women and girls in New Orleans and the Gulf South, believing that the people closest to the ground understand the needs of women and the environment in which violence occurs better than outsiders do.
Heldman will receive her award at a New Orleans ceremony later this month with 44 other women and three nonprofit organizations: Metropolitan Battered Women's Shelter, The New Orleans Family Justice Center and Women with a Vision. In the spirit of the award she’s receiving, Heldman will be putting all of the money back into the New Orleans Women's Shelter for their Education and Wellness Fund and flowers to be planted throughout the Lower Ninth Ward.