IfYouBlinked Woman Crush | Malala for Remembering Our Girls

One year, 200 schoolgirls, never forget. Photo Credit: Malala Twitter

One year, 200 schoolgirls, never forget.
Photo Credit: Malala Twitter

To commemorate the one year anniversary of over 200 Nigerian girls being captured, and sold as sex slaves and suicide bombers, Malala penned a powerful letter to friends and family.

She writes their torturous situation is not forgotten. Even though, their viral campaign (#BringBackOurGirls) nearly is. And promises to do everything she can to press the international community to bring them home.

Then goes on to update them on their parents. Malala and her dad visited Nigeria last fall to comfort the families of the missing girls, and urge then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to follow suit. Which he did the following day.

Malala closes the letter by expressing hope they’ll be rescued soon, and joining their escapee classmates in taking advantage of her org’s scholarships to attend school safely.

President-elect Muhammadu Buhari vowed to put an end to terrorist org Boko Haram, but was less than confident on finding the now 2,000 missing schoolgirls.

To hear Malala’s full letter to the Chibok girls, listen below:

To write your own letter to the missing Nigerian girls click here and see how others are raising awareness for the #bringbackourgirls campaign here.

3 Reasons We Need More Malala’s in the World

Two years ago, I was scanning CNN’s site when a breaking news story hijacked the homepage. An innocent Pakistani girl was shot in the head by the Taliban.Reading the vicious details of a young girl being struck down for wanting to enter a classroom was mind-boggling to a Western-based girl, whose country has a history of school dropouts.

I chalked the tragedy up to yet another case of Taliban extremism, and expected its latest victim named Malala to die along with her ideals for equality.

Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality. -Malala Yousafzai

Flash forward two years later, just two days shy of her assasination, Malala (very much alive and even more outspoken about girls getting an education) is interrupted in her chemistry class to claim the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. Malala Yousafzai is many things, but survivor is at the very top of the list. And not only has she survived she is thriving in her purpose of helping young girls find theirs. If only there were more girls like her. Below I list three reasons why there should be.

1. Change– If you’ve been scrolling through your news feed recently, you know that young kids are pawns used to carry out terrorists sick, sadistic missions. And it is the Malala’s and the 200 kidnapped African girls, some of which escaped,standing up and being an anchor for change.

2. Revolution– It’s debate-able if hash tag activism is effective or not. I’m leaning towards yes…BUT only when it’s backed up by real activism. Social media campaigns merged with protests for equality will illicit change. It’s that instant connection to enlighten the world combined with paving the pavement to see that change come to fruition.

3. Inspiration– There are few role models for young people where education is their mantle-piece priority, especially at Malala’s age. We’re losing our philosophical pioneers (RIP Maya Angelou, RIP Nelson Mandela) left and right. It’s time we start molding a new generation. Malala is a great start.

Congratulations, Malala!!!

Is Hashtag Activism Saving or Hindering Kidnapped Nigerian Girls?

Image Courtesy: Michelle Obama Instagram

Image Courtesy: Michelle Obama Instagram

I got into a back-and-forth debate with my best friend yesterday about the usefulness of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag flooding Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, recently. My bestie thinks the avalanche of hashtag activism for the Nigerian girls will make things even worse rather than helping the girls get reunited with their moms. She pointed out that more girls are getting kidnapped as a result of the attention. And the issue shouldn’t be minimized to scrawling four words on a blank page and hoping Boko Haram will be so embarrassed by the attention they’ll return the teens.

Okay, I get it. I don’t think any of us are so naive to believe Boko Haram, who Al-Qaeda even disapproves of, will be persuaded by our pleas. But, if it wasn’t for the hashtag activism the U.S. wouldn’t be sending aid to them now. Nigeria’s govt wouldn’t be offering $30K reward for those with info on the kidnapping. The hashtag was all the moms could depend on when their voices fell on deaf ears with Nigerian govt, until President Jonathan was pushed (by the trivial hashtags) to speak on the issue.

So, yes, I stand by the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag for awareness. And not only that. What else can we do? How else can we express our anger, heartbreak and disgust as a whole?

These abducted schoolgirls are my sisters and I call on the international community and the government of Nigeria to take action and save my sisters. It should be our duty to speak up for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are in a very difficult situation.

–Malala (in interview with NY Times)

I know people are weary of trends. And fear this is another one the West is so easy to adopt and neglect for the next hot topic dripping from social media’s fingertips. So, like Nigerian novelist Teju Cole and sociologist Zeynep Tufekci, ponder the next step in this process and whether it serves its purpose.

All valid points. But, I’d rather be accused of making noise about an issue then staying silent while more people suffer.

Happy Birthday, Malala & Beyonce’s Birthday Message

Secretary General of UN Ban Ki Moon greets Malala

Secretary General of UN Ban Ki Moon greets Malala

At 16, let’s see, I was probably begging my mom to throw me a sweet 16 party that would rival my frenemy and praying my high school crush would attend. Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai’s 16th birthday wish is to have young girls educated around the world. It’s a wish that wasn’t quietly whispered over a birthday cake, but echoed throughout the United Nations among national leaders.

It’s a wish that nearly cut Malala’s life short after being shot in the head by Taliban last fall. But she said it has only made her vow to help young women have access to classrooms around the globe even stronger.

See why this extraordinarily brave girl is an old soul in a young body.

It seems I’m not the only one that has a girl crush on Malala. Beyonce posted a birthday message for Malala on Instagram today.

beyoncemalala

Happy International Women’s Day, Five Women Who Inspire This Day

michelle-obama

whitehouse.gov

In honor of International Women’s Day, I want to shine a light on five amazing women who realize the necessary and powerful force sisterhood is to our humanity. Some of these women are easily recognizable (Hey, FLOTUS) while others may not be splashed across a glossy mag their contributions to their communities, and society, as a whole, is what makes them so very (Tyra Banks voice) fiiieeerrrrccceee.

Michelle Obama

While the First Lady may be best known for her enviable wardrobe or most recently those love em’ or hate em’ bangs. She’s on my girl crush list because of her unwavering ability to help young people discover their best selves.  This month marks the third anniversary of her Let’s Move! fitness initiative that motivates kids to exercise and eat healthier meals. The initiative has already inspired laws that enforce healthy meals for low-income families in schools around the country to combat the ever-increasing rise in overweight or obese children. With the help of athletic goddesses’ Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas and Dominque Dawes, FLOTUS launched a new fitness program to be included in America’s schools that will make kids active throughout the day. Nike will donate $50 million over the next 5 years to fund the program.

Malala Yousufzai

The shot heard around the world wasn’t aimed at a typical rebel that could be easily extinguished by a Taliban force. It was a 14-year-old Pakistani girl whose only demand was education for girls like herself. Yousufzai’s bravery and sacrifice (she lost hearing in one ear) sparked outrage and protests in her native land. But, it did little to silence the passion she has for empowering girls. Last month since being shot she released her first statement to the press:  “God has given me this new life. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated.” Nongovernmental Organization Vital Voices established a nonprofit:  Malala Fund that will promote funding for education. Malala and her dad will sit on the nonprofit’s board and decide on the agency’s initiatives. Malala’s unconquerable resilience hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Nobel Peace Prize, which nominated her for the prestigious award  last month.

fashioncentral.pk

fashioncentral.pk

Musarrat Misbah

 It takes a special person to recognize a beautiful soul. Not a beautiful face. Pakistan native Misbah knows the difference. She is the founder of the Depilex Smile Again Foundation, which helps acid-attack survivors find their place in the world. Misbah, in her early 50s’,  started the foundation after being approached by a severely disfigured woman asking for help. The Smile Again Foundation helps women get reconstructive surgery and offers job training. The foundation reportedly helped more than 500 victims that would ordinarily be shunned by relatives and friends. According to Metro, acid attacks are more common in central and southern Asia, but occur around the globe. An estimated 9,000 women were acid-attacked between 1994 and 2001. Misbah’s foundation is home to the survivors and she tells Metro she hopes to create another safe haven. “I just hope God gives me the strength to help more girls. I want to build a shelter where I can live with them. Sorry if I sound like Mother Teresa.”

To Support Smile Again Foundation—> Depilex Smile Again

nydailynews

nydailynews

Jaha Dukureh

Jaha wants women to speak up against a cultural practice that is taboo to resistance. A practice that has negatively affected women for centuries. Female genital mutilation has been widely considered a ritual practiced in West Africa, the Middle East and South Asia–until now. There are reports of illegal surgeries taking place in the US and in some cases immigrant families sending their daughters abroad to relatives for “vacation cutting.” Gambian native Dukureh is a survivor of FGM—she was only a few days old when her labia and clitoris were cut off and her vagina was sewn shut to ensure her virginity, then became aware of the mutilation at 15 when her vagina had to be cut back open—and wants women to know this is a global issue. “People think that female genital mutilation is an African issue, but it is a U.S. issue,” Dukureh, now 25 tells NY Daily News. “You have it everywhere Africans migrate to. I felt like if someone knew what I was talking about, most of the things that happened to me, they wouldn’t have happened.” And in order to prevent them from happening to another woman she shared her story with The Sanctuary for Families, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting domestic violence victims, which published her account in a report about FGM in the US. A new federal law made it illegal for this ritual to be practiced and for girls to travel for the purpose of the procedure. Dukureh started a blog entitled ‘Rising Up Against FGM‘ where she interacts with survivors like herself and enlightens women about the dangers of FGM.

To Support Sanctuary for Families —> Sanctuary for Families

Women in Combat: This entry may be a little premature, considering the first female combat team has yet to be chosen. However, I wanted to be the first person to honor these brave, ground-breaking women that will make history by being the first women to go out in combat since President Obama’s administration lifted the ban. Hooah!!!

If you Bl;nked: President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act into law this week. Read my previous blog entry for info about the law.  https://ifyoublinked.com/2013/02/22/kelly-rowland-and-monica-promote-domestic-violence-prevention-month/