Verizon Wireless Sponsors Special Screening of "Beneath the Veil"

Verizon Wireless Sponsors Special Screening of "Beneath the Veil"

Documentary Shows Life for Women in Afghanistan

December 5, 2001




Verizon Wireless, a recognized corporate leader in the fight against domestic violence, is the sponsor of a special screening of "Beneath the Veil," one of the most powerful documentaries of our time concerning the treatment of women under Taliban rule. The screening will be held this evening at the Chicago Historical Society and is presented by the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois, together with the Chicago Foundation for Women and Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

"Beneath the Veil," the critically acclaimed documentary by British journalist Saira Shah, exposes the inhumane conditions of life for Afghanistan women under the Taliban rule. Shah smuggled cameras under a shroud into her parents' homeland to capture images of once-independent women groveling for food, teaching their daughters in secret and being beaten or shot for transgressions defined by Taliban leaders.

"'Beneath the Veil' shows how the oppressive treatment of women in Afghanistan affected thousands of women and girls and conveys a message to the scores of women in Chicago and throughout Illinois who are also victims-victims not of the blatant practices seen in this documentary but of the more secretive threat that affects over one-third of all women in the United States. That threat, of course, is domestic violence," said Tracy Nolan, president of Verizon Wireless' Illinois/Wisconsin Region. "We are proud to be a sponsor of this special showing. Our hope is that programs like this will serve to encourage people to talk about the issue of violence against women and bring about positive change."

"We look at the lives of women in Afghanistan and feel enraged about the treatment of women in this far away land. There are unthinkable stories of public execution, disregard for human rights, and lack of basic human needs and living conditions. Fortunately, the world has focused on this region and change is occurring. Afghan women need to be intricately involved in their future to prevent the past from reoccurring," said Judith Gold, Chair, Governor's Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois. "In our country, in our state and in our city, unthinkable acts of domestic violence occur every day. We must not lose sight that it is our responsibility to end this violence in our country."

A discussion of the documentary, including its connection and relevance to the problem of domestic violence, will follow the special "Beneath the Veil" screening led by noted lecturer Lauren Berlant, Director of Gender Studies, Global Perspectives, at the University of Chicago.

The sold-out, free event is also sponsored by the Chicago Sun-Times.

About the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois

The Governor's Commission on the Status of Women in Illinois works with both the private and public sectors to study the issues surrounding women's equity in Illinois, examines ways to raise awareness of these issues, develops collaborative public and private solutions and makes recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly.

About the Chicago Foundation of Women

The Chicago Foundation for Women is dedicated to increasing resources and opportunities for women and girls. The Foundation raises funds for grants, advocates that others increase their giving to programs serving women and girls, and develops women and girls as philanthropists. Since 1986, the Chicago Foundation for Women has awarded over 1,500 grants totaling more than $8 million to nearly 600 organizations serving women and girls.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28.7 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.