Rise Up and Walk
“We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!” ~Wangari Maathi
And walk is what we did! This year the Wilmington UN Women Walk to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls fell on Earth Day, National Immunization Week (www.shotatlife.org), and during the ONE THRIVE Campaign (www.one.org). There was so much information to share and so many people there ready to take action. When I read the above quote from the late Professor Wangari Maathi, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of The Green Belt Movement http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/in her 2006 memoir, Unbowed, I was struck with that feeling of how we are all connected. Not just to one another, but to this Earth. Professor Maathi was not just a steward of the Earth, she was a powerhouse for social justice and equal rights for women. Her fearless dedication to being a voice for justice left me thinking I have to do more!!
The Sunday forecast called for heavy rains here in Wilmington, NC. I sent a tweet the evening before to our local weatherman asking him to please make a window for our walk. Well he must be magic—there was no rain and almost 100 people came to participate. They were there to make a statement that gender based violence must come to an end! The fact that up to 70% of women and girls will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in their lifetime was on the minds of the walkers as they made their way around a 3k or 5k course. Seeing the compassion and energy in these participants was uplifting! They raised money and gave their time for this important cause. This is still a new event for the community, and with the labor of love put into it I know it is only going to grow larger year by year.
Participants also took the time to stop by the ONE table and fill out their carrot seed postcards to the White House urging President Obama to work with the G8 leaders to sow the seeds of change and lift 50 million people out of extreme poverty. It is in these impoverished areas where violence breeds. To end violence against women and girls we MUST end extreme poverty!!!
What actions can we take? Here are a few:
*visit www.unwomen.org and learn the facts, then look for a local chapter to donate your time or resources.
*and of course…..sign up to be a ONE Mom right here www.one.org/moms!!! ONE Moms and ONE Dad are in Ghana this week for the launch of two new vaccines for rotavirus and pneumococcal thanks to GAVI. No mother should have to watch her child die because of a preventable disease. Let’s support women all ways that we can!
Professor Wangari Maathi faced these challenges and more remaining unbowed. We must honor her by doing the same. “RISE UP and WALK” for women everywhere……………………