Dear AHA Foundation Supporter,
The summer months are often a time for rest, but we have been busy at the AHA Foundation. The op-ed I wrote with my colleague Asra Nomani for The New York Times last month engaged many readers and I am delighted that Asra and I had an opportunity to respond to readers of The New York Times. Read our responses here.
I am happy to share a new victory against FGM in the U.S. Last week, Michigan became the 26thstate to criminalize FGM and the state with the strongest state FGM legislation in the country! Thanks to your support, the AHA Foundation played a pivotal role in getting this legislation passed, from testifying before Michigan’s House Committee on Law and Justice to providing resources and advice on the legislation. We applaud Michigan citizens, their representatives, and its Governor Snyder in their efforts to protect little girls.
Maine is another state that we have been working with for months to get FGM legislation passed. There have been many rounds of voting on bill LD 745: An Act to Prohibit Female Genital Mutilation, but unfortunately the bill died between Houses. The AHA Foundation is hopeful that the legislation will be taken back up this Thursday on Maine’s Veto Day and voted on again. If you are Maine resident, please call your representative to show your support for the bill. Find your House of Representatives member here and your State Senator here.
Also this month, our Senior Director Amanda Parker participated on an FGM panel discussing the situations in Michigan and Maine, and was featured on Mic.com emphasizing the need for every state to implement FGM legislation.
We interviewed two medical professionals well-versed on the subject of FGM: Joanna Vergoth is a psychotherapist who founded a non-profit organization dedicated to providing culturally-sensitive clinical services to women affected by FGM. We asked her to tell us why trauma from FGM is different from other types of trauma and how she works with survivors to help them overcome trauma to the body. Read here about Joanna’s experience.
Next, we have an interview with Dr. Mohammed Arsiwala whose perspective on FGM is invaluable, as he not only is a board certified internist, but he also comes from the Dawoodi Bohra community in Michigan, the same community as the two doctors who were recently charged for allegedly performing FGM in the US. He explains why religious leaders must speak out against the practice and why FGM legislation is necessary in every state.
Finally, the AHA Foundation staff has compiled some of their favorite books for you to add to your summer reading list. We hope that you find these books as inspiring as we did.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Founder, The AHA Foundation