I WALK FOR WOMEN
By Janelle Simmons
Edited: Diane Forte
I walked for women. Women walked for women. Men walked for women. We walked for each other. The first Walk For Women campaign was launched to bring a voice to those who had been enslaved, assaulted or abused. The march took place on Saturday, March 5th. We all walked for women while upholding our male counterparts who have also survived egregious acts against their body and mind.
UN Women for Peace explains the staggering facts/statistics that have fueled such a successful march on their site (http://www.unwomenforpeace.org). It reads:
“Today, as you read these words, nearly 5 million women and girls globally are liven in forced sexual exploitation and victims of human trafficking. More than 60 million girls are child brides. A similar number, roughly 60 million girls have not access to – or are being deliberately excluded from – primary and secondary school. More than 140 million girls and women live with the pain and humiliation of genital cutting.” Since the march I have come to learn that other statistics are even more startling. You can find some of these statistics on their site.
Quite frankly, when I arrived I was not sure what to expect. When I arrived I saw women and men, police officers, journalists, sales representatives, UN WOMEN volunteers, families….all standing in the cold…waiting, listening and READY to march for a basic human right. That “human right is the right to say what happens with one’s own body with one’s own autonomy and with one’s own life. ON this day, that belief was supported by hundreds of people who showed up to walk for justice and to walk for peace.
Earlier, the ceremony preceding the march took more time than the actual march. People like U.N. Secretary General Ban, Ki Moon, UNWFPA Patron, Ban, Soon Taek, the Commanding Officer of NYPD Domestic Violence Unit, Deputy Chief Juanita Holmes, the Managing Director of the Women’s Prison Association Jennifer SIngleton, Emmy- winning TV host Rita Cosby, the Co-Founder of Shandra Woworuntu and the Chairwoman of the International Women’s Peace Group Kim Nam Hee were all present. They stood on stage greeting the crowd, giving messages of hope to several hundred people ready to march. Another notable guest was Dionne Warwick wo received and award as a U.N. Ambassador. She sang accompanied by the Christian Cultural Center Choir from Brooklyn.
Then we marched, sang, joked, and walked in silence as news cameramen took videos, and random pedestrians took pictures (documenting grief and hope hand in hand.)
We marched for hope! We marched against each act of violation that any female has undergone, been overcome by, or survived in the United States or abroad. WE MARCHED FOR PEACE! On that day, WE WERE ALL THE SAME!