Ten years ago, when I was twenty-two years old my sister was in downtown Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001. I will never forget every detail of that day. Frantically dialing her cell phone number from my Midtown Manhattan office and holding a sign with her name outside my building while watching the Towers burn then fall. Everything, everyone was on fast forward then pause. I remember walking across the 59th Street Bridge more afraid than I ever have been still, yet knowing she waited for me to arrive home to her in Brooklyn. Safe. As sisters, we spent one day in outright war. Afghanistan has spent ten years due to the War on Terror. According to Women for Women International, in 2010 alone, civilian casualties in the War on Terror are estimated at 10,000 people. Since 1998, the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo has lost 5.4 million civilians. None of these numbers account for rape as a weapon of war, a recognized and grueling byproduct of conflict.
On March 8, 2011, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Mexico to China to India to Brazil to Afghanistan, women, men, and children are coming together on bridges all over the world to honor the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day in a call for peace. Women for Women International's Join Me on the Bridge Campaign is that call for peace: for women and children in countries where war is their every day challenge in life, and has been repeatedly for so many years fathoming their daily existence seems almost impossible.
In San Francisco, the event is hosted by Google and is meeting at Crissy Field before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. In London, the march is lead by Annie Lennox and traverses the Millennium Bridge. In New York, we converge on the Brooklyn Bridge where Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International, will speak. In China, people will gather on the Great Wall. In Paris, they will gather on March 6 and March 8 to honor the Join Me on the Bridge Campaign.
The 100th anniversary of International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future. One week from now, on the 100th anniversary honor and advocate for peace. In Egypt, we witnessed that the mass can come together in hope and create legitimate change.
Kate Nustedt, Executive Director of Women for Women International UK says, “A 100 years ago brave women stood up and changed the world for so many of us. Today, there are equally brave women standing up for equality in Afghanistan and other war-torn countries. Now is our chance to get behind these women and help bring peace and greater security to their lives.”
You can sign the petition here to acknowledge that you support women in Afghanistan and you can attend a Join Me on the Bridge event near you.