While a student government leader at CSU Northridge, I organized campus events. The most memorable was "The Vagina Monologues." A 20-year-old conservative Catholic that devoutly spent my weekends at Mass and debate tournaments was then put off by the word “vagina” on my meeting agenda.

When I first got involved it felt like an HBO free preview weekend filled with things that I felt shame for watching but was immensely curious about. The impact for me was so profound that the next year I auditioned and was cast. I sent postcards for the performance to my family in Bakersfield (as you might imagine that did not go well).

Before Facebook and FaceTime existed, I sent the now infamous postcards with a Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired flower and scrawled note that said, “Come see me perform in 'The Vagina Monologues.'” The arrival of the cards triggered a phone tree of prayers to address every Mexican mothers' fear realized: I had moved to LA and been lured into porn. None of my relatives came to watch me but, in their defense, I sent a sexually suggestive postcard with zero context and not everyone tunes in when they get free HBO.

Bakersfield is fortunate to have a vibrant and sometimes scintillating art happening here. This production will shine light on persistent problems that we need to discuss such as sex trafficking and violence against women. I hope you will join me in attending the Bakersfield "Vagina Monologues" on Feb. 9 at the Fox Theatre.

Chris Cruz-Boone, Bakersfield