This past Saturday, I joined a few DC-based women, led by volunteer Mary Ellen Kustin and PeaceXPeace on the Duke Ellington Bridge in Washington, DC to observe the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (official date, March 8, 2011). The event was part of the “Join Me on the Bridge” global campaign led by Women for Women International.
The “Join Me on the Bridge” campaign includes women, children and men, whether it’s 2, 200, 2000, or more, joining together on bridges across the world, holding up banners, making a public statement that ‘Stronger Women Build Bridges of Peace’ and supporting women in war-torn areas. The event calls for women to have a greater say at the peace negotiating tables and for countries to honor the UN goals they have signed up to, to bring an end to violence against women in areas of conflict
The idea for Join Me on the Bridge came from the Country Directors of Women for Women’s programmes in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo – two countries which have seen some of the most devastating impacts of war in recent years and where atrocities such as rape, torture and violence against women are commonplace. Women from different communities decided to come together on a bridge which borders their two countries, in the heart of the conflict; to stand up for peace and an end to violence against women.
I am not a stranger to peaceful demonstrations and this one, although small, was powerful and diverse. Young women from local colleges and seasoned feminists were together and shared our thoughts about our hopes and dreams for women globally. I met some cool folks and look forward to the opportunity to participate in similar celebrations to promote the well-being of women around the world. As an advisory board member of Empowered Women International and a supporter of CARE, it was important that I participated in this small but powerful presentation for women. Though it was overcast, a bit cool and we were fairly small in number, our enthusiasim for this cause was not affected in any way!