More than 150 AJWS supporters gathered in Washington, D.C. this week for the 2014 AJWS Policy Summit. Yesterday, after 48 hours of inspirational programming and skills building, we headed out to Capitol Hill to urge our legislators to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which was introduced in the Senate on May 8th.
Together we visited 100 Congressional offices all in one day—and secured new allies in our fight to end violence against women and girls worldwide!
As a result of these visits, many Representatives learned about the bill for the first time—and others committed to support it as co-sponsors. We crisscrossed the Hill from the House to the Senate and back, and felt the momentum for We Believe building.
Throughout the three-day Summit, we heard inspirational words from U.S. leaders committed to human rights who were ready to join us in this fight. On Sunday night, we heard from Tina Tchen, Assistant to President Obama and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama, who affirmed her support for our campaign. Tchen remarked, “Living safe and free from violence and pursuing every dream that can be dreamt is the birthright of every girl and every boy…”
On Monday night, Carla Koppel, Chief Strategy Officer for USAID, cheered us on and said: “We view you as our partners in moving this agenda forward… The timing is perfect and now we must work to make [ending violence against women and girls] part of the DNA in societies around the world.”
And finally, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) sent us out on our lobby visits with words of support, empowering more than 150 AJWS activists to gain new co-sponsors for IVAWA and continue our fight for the rights of women and girls everywhere.
Check out the storify on the AJWS Policy Summit to see more from the event.
After this experience our spirits are soaring, but we still need your help. Although the introduction of IVAWA is an important step forward to ensure the safety and dignity of women everywhere, our world remains devastatingly broken: More than 250 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by a militant group are now at risk of being sold into slavery. And while this story has taken the media by storm, millions of women and girls around the globe experience violence, brutality and discrimination every day.
Even if you weren’t with us physically in Washington this week, you can make a difference by signing and sharing our IVAWA petition with your friends and families.
We believe we can pass IVAWA together. This is our moment to bring about change. The time is now.