I-VAWA : Dear Mr. President...
Dear Mr. President and Secretary Clinton,
How is the view of the garden from the windows of the White House? I see lilies, green peppers, and sweet alyssum from mine and a wild rose bush full of finches. When women, if they have them, look out of windows across the world, their views are much different. Often the societies they live in thrive off of their inferiority.
I ask you to consider the realities of our history and current issues when I-AWA is placed in your hands. Although we have come a long way, even our fight for equal civil rights and protection for all is long from over. We may not be able to solve the problems of the world in one term or one generation, but our actions can be a springboard for global change. Just as you promote diversity, we, as a nation, must remember our history and with a committed sense of empathy move forward.
I do not know about you, but I dream of my children living in a country that values the freedom, well-being, and education of women everywhere. What value do we truly place on our own if we are not global advocates? As the sun shines on my petunias and your marigolds, women are suffering globally from violence and the way in which this violence is manifested falls along a broad spectrum – from rape and honor killings to denial of education and support. What beauty of life do we uphold while so many perish before embracing the right to even bloom?
I am a witness and as a witness I cannot turn away. I have watched women rise in my own state and country when offered the chance to thrive, given resources and opportunities, and taught the importance of self-value. I have worked intimately in my own community with women transitioning from domestic crisis and imprisonment to changed lives – their stories of abuse and silence compel me daily to be an advocate and mentor for young girls here and everywhere. I am aware of the transformation through education and support that has changed my life and can transform entire communities and countries.
If we could close our eyes and think of only the women in our lives…of everything we wish for them from healthy self-image, positive self-worth, education, empowerment, opportunity, equality, safety, and nourishment – then why, when we open them, can we not extend our vision to women everywhere in the world?