Breathe...For this day or the rest of it at least, be mindful and set aside some time for personal care and peace of self. If you are privileged enough to be able to go for a walk, play a board game with your son or daughter. Get your coloring book and pens out or read a book. Do anything to personally celebrate this day and the peace that comes from knowing that there are and were women before you that allowed you to be where and who you are.
They Did it for All of Us
Take a few moments to reflect on the Black women and women of color that have impacted the world through non-violent communication and peace-making. Celebrate them, for they are the women from which you want your daughters to learn. They are the women who set examples for all people, not just other women. Without weapons or harsh words, they give knowledge, wisdom, and peace-making skills to all who would pay attention.
These women peace-makers have put their lives in danger, without reservation, to give other women power. The power to learn and be educated are themes that women world-wide struggle with. There are women who are never recognized for their efforts to build peace, because of their sex and because of their skin-tones.
They are all brave women who went through death threats, war, and assassination attempts. Yet, they didn’t stop trying to bring peace to the Nations and the world. The five women on this list exemplify what it means to be peace-makers and women in a world that tries to stomp women down. Each one of them are recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
1) Malala Yousafzi - won the Nobel peace prize in 2014, “For their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”. She was 17 years old at the time. Her activism began at the age of 11. When the Taliban seized control of her home town in Pakistan, they banned music and TV. More importantly, they banned girls from school. She started speaking out not much later than that, anonymously over the radio.
In 2012, she spoke as an advocate for girls having the right to learn in public for the first time. She was 14. Subsequently, an unknown man got on her school bus, asked where she was, and shot her in the left side of her head. She survived and never backed down from her cause. In December of 2014, at 17, she became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history.
2) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - is the former President of Liberia. She recently made a pivotal statement by convening on the lawn with anti-rape protesters in Liberia on August 26th, is also a Nobel Peace Laureate. She won the Peace Prize in 2011 “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” During the protest, she talked with the young women who had gathered on her front lawn after they were ousted from the protest.
She was the first female president of an African country and the first democratically elected president in 2005. That was just two years after the war in Liberia ended. She promoted non-violent problem solving and peace. The former president was ranked among the top leaders in the world by Newsweek and Time Magazines.
3) Leymah Gbowee - also Liberian, was declared a Peace Laureate the same year as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”
She was instrumental in ending the civil war in Liberia, via the women’s peace movement she led, for which the women wore white t-shirts and protested at the fish-market. She then took a delegation with her to Ghana, where they pressured the two sides into peace-talks.
To Know More
These women and their missions to help girls and women gain education and peaceful communities are priceless. And, as you may know already, Stella’s Girls has a chapter in Liberia. It is organized and run by Mariama Konneh, our Executive Director.
Mariama recently sent a video update on Stella’s Girls from Liberia. Just scroll down or click this link to educate yourself about Stella’s Girls, Liberia.