Dear AHA Foundation Supporter,
When I reflect on my life, I know there are things I would have done differently. But what I also know is, despite the many challenges I have faced, fighting for women’s rights in societies where women have no say in decisions that directly affect their lives, is a fight I will never regret nor give up. The fight is not simply in those societies but also in our own. American women, whether they were born here, immigrated to the US, or are refugees, all have the same rights. The right to an education. The right to health care. The right to find gainful employment. The right to live free of violence and abuse. I will remain steadfast in ensuring those rights are achieved here in the US and worldwide.
In this month’s newsletter you will find an article about two events I recently attended in New York City: the New-York Historical Society, where I was honored to receive their Women in Public Life Award, and the Women in the World Summit, a conference that gives a global platform to women who have saved or enriched lives and shattered glass ceilings in every sector. At Women in the World, a heated debate broke out among the women participating in the panel as we discussed the future of women in Islam. As I stated to my fellow panelists, “I’m famous for being disobedient.” We include in our article a link to the debate.
We also feature an interview with Nick Mwaluko, an active voice in campaigning for the rights of the LGBTQ community in East Africa, and an author whose work touches on subjects including honor and female genital mutilation. “There has to be a way to honor girls and women through ceremonies without marking them forever“, is a part of his message to those who justify FGM and those who seek to end it.
Finally, our newsletter includes your voice! We are pleased to share messages we received from supporters like you about why ending honor violence is important to them, and ultimately to the women and girls who survive it. I am truly heartened by your commitment to ending honor violence, forced marriage and FGM.
I hope you enjoy the newsletter and please feel free to share with us feedback about the articles or any ideas you may have about stories we should feature.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Founder, The AHA Foundation