Here, There and Everywhere

Dear Gabriel,

Last month, you and 18,000 other activists took action in support of Afghan women in advance of our “Shadow Summit” for Afghan Women’s Rights. You submitted messages of solidarity and support, and your words of encouragement soared far into the sky on the first day of the NATO summit in Chicago to let the world’s leaders know that we care about women’s rights.

They listened.

The Shadow Summit for Afghan Women’s Rights was a true testament to what AIUSA is capable of achieving when we all work together. At the very last minute, the government of Afghanistan invited three women to join the Afghan delegation at the NATO summit.

Amnesty International’s Shadow Summit speakers included prominent Afghan women’s rights leaders Afifa Azim, Manizha Naderi, Hasina Safi and Mahbouba Seraj, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of the best-seller “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana”, and Jerome McDonnell, host of Chicago Public Radio’s program “Worldview”, moderated the panel discussions. You can listen online to the first panel.

After the program, Shadow Summit participants headed out to Chicago’s Navy Pier with your messages and flew the kites in solidarity with Afghan women. To see pictures from the event, check out our album.

After the kite action, Mahbouba, Afifa and Hasina expressed their gratitude for Amnesty’s support in creating such a crucial opportunity to have their voices heard, and their hopes that we will all continue to work together to demand Afghan women’s political participation and representation as the transition unfolds – and beyond.

Afifa Azim, director and co-founder, Afghan Women’s Network, said:

“We want the world to know that the women of Afghanistan are not victims. They are active members of society and agents of change who worked very hard, even when it was underground, to make sure children were being educated and progress was being made. We cannot go back to the darkness and we expect to be heard as the new policies are being made. We are asking the U.S. and the international community to support us.”

We won’t give up on the fight for women’s human rights around the world. With your continued support, we know it is possible to achieve.

Thank you for taking action. Together we’re making a difference and we look forward to the next steps.

Cristina M. Finch
Policy and Advocacy Director, Women’s Human Rights
Amnesty International USA

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