May Newsletter: The shocking moment you first realize FGM and child marriage happen in the U.S.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, two practices that violate human rights, can seem like foreign concepts in the U.S. The first time you learn about their prevalence in a developed country like ours, it’s staggering. Many people tell me this is their reaction.
With everything I had heard about the U.S. before I moved here, I was certain it would be a place with zero tolerance for these forms of gender-based violence. When I discovered there was hardly any legislation preventing these practices, I moved quickly to establish AHA Foundation and fight for change. Our two blogs this month focus on women, who at some point in their life, not only had similar realizations but also similar responses.
Elizabeth Brown, a state senator from Indiana, was horrified when she first read stories about FGM. When she heard it occurred within her own state, she took immediate and decisive action. You can read about her inspiration and the fight to pass Indiana’s anti-FGM bill here.
Meanwhile, Brooke Bumgarner, our Prospect and Program Development Coordinator, saw what child marriage does to children and their communities first-hand while working in Tanzania. This experience led her to dedicate her career to the fight to save children from this and other dangerous cultural practices. Read about her journey to AHA Foundation here.
I know you’ve felt similar frustrations like Elizabeth, Brooke, and I. However, it’s these frustrations that spur us to action. This month, we celebrated a new victory. The Rhode Island legislature voted unanimously to ban all marriage before the age of 18. Rhode Island will now become the 5th state in the U.S. to ban all child marriage!
You can help us make a final push for change in other states before the 2021 legislative sessions end. Give now and help us unlock a $15,000 matching gift.
It’s thanks to your support that we’re able to be a voice for change across the U.S. Together, we will make our country into a place where children are safe and protected from these abuses.
Thank you for standing with us in our mission,
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Founder