Dear AHA Foundation Supporter,
August has been a surprisingly busy month working to strengthen legislative protections for women and girls in the U.S. Significant progress was made in the state of Florida where legislators are pursuing bills to end child marriage. The AHA Foundation is part of the Florida Working Group to End Child Marriage supporting legislators such as Representative Daisy Baez who have taken leadership in protecting the children of Florida by putting forth legislation that will prohibit marriage under the age of 18 without exception. This is a great step forward and we are hard at work encouraging its passage.
I am always inspired when I hear about our supporters adding their voices to the fight against dangerous traditional practices. After reading in the Miami Herald that El Salvador and Guatemala have banned child marriage and learning that no state in the U.S. has done the same, AHA supporter and Florida resident Alicia Smith took her advocacy efforts to the next level. She wrote a letter to the editor of the Miami Herald decrying the fact that the US must follow the lead of developing countries in protecting our children from the harms of child marriage. You can read her thoughtful commentary here.
We were hopeful that anti-FGM legislation in Maine would pass in the state legislature; however, the bill died between houses. We asked Representative Heather Sirocki of Maine, who sponsored the bill, about the issues she faced in getting this legislation passed and another possibility to bring the legislation back up in January. She also gives incredible insight on what you can do as an advocate to make sure your opinion on legislation is heard and acted on by your representatives. Read our interview with Representative Sirocki here.
“Have mercy on your children” is the plea from a survivor of female genital mutilation to every parent who is considering cutting their girl. In sharing the excruciating details of her harrowing tale, she reveals how undergoing genital mutilation nearly killed her, and speaks of ongoing trauma she experiences still today, decades later. Read her story here.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Founder, The AHA Foundation