June Newsletter: Pennsylvania bans child marriage with help of Jesse Topper; AHA says goodbye to helpline manager

The fight to ban child marriage across the U.S. has been a long, grueling battle. For years, AHA Foundation has been meeting with state representatives to encourage the passage of bills banning child marriage. When COVID-19 swept through our nation, states put everything else aside to deal with the pandemic. While that laser focus was much needed, our efforts to protect women and girls were interrupted.
But behind the strong determination of State Representative Jesse Topper, Pennsylvania was able to become the third state to ban child marriage in our country. In an interview with AHA Foundation, Topper describes how he was able to protect children while working to respond to the pandemic.
Legislation protecting women and girls is as important as it has ever been. During the month of May, we saw our crisis textline receive 7 times as many requests for help compared to the months leading up to the pandemic. This highlights a major concern we had early on—this pandemic has created tough situations for girls at risk of child and forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honor violence. Your gift to AHA Foundation helps protect women and girls from these kinds of abuse in the U.S.
At the end of this month, after a two-year internship at AHA Foundation, Sheriece Hooks will no longer be tending to our helpline. In her blog, “While Circumstances May Be Different, Emotions Remain the Same,” she looks back at the challenges she faced and what she learned while providing support to women and girls in need.
Lastly, if you couldn’t join me last Thursday for my Virtual Policy Briefing with the Hoover Institution on identity politics and its tribal branches, you can watch it here.
Thank you for your continued support in our fight to keep all women and girls safe.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder