Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Year in Pictures! What a Year!

The year 2014 marked the beginning of a major journey for me. It was one of the most difficult years of my life in many ways but also the most transformative. To all those who were a part of this journey, both negative positive and /or neutral: THANKYOU! Every single person and experience taught me something about myself about humanity and my place in the grand scheme of things. I wish each and every one of you an amazing 2015 filled with all those things you wish for yourself. The word that comes to mind as we move into the new year is COURAGE! We are all going to need it.
February 2014 Highlight

Coordinating the One Billion Rising for Justice Campaign in Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland was an amazing experience which stretched me beyond anything I could have ever anticipated! The highlight was working with the country coordinators, who have become my sisters in the truest sense of the word. Thanks to their love care and passion so many new movements and ideas were birthed in 2014~! To Zubeida, Mbachi, Hannah, Lerato and Thamy, Nyasha, Glanis, Doreen, Soneni, Nyasha2, Batsi, Judith and Colani, Jade and Mantala Thenjiwe, Andrea, Yasmeen, Samu, Peter, Busi, Deveshni, Myeshia, Mpho, mum Pru, Mmatshillo, Pumla...THANKYOU for making OBR in southern Africa a huge resounding success and most of all thank you for opening your hearts to me. I truly feel so blessed to have met each of you physically or virtually. I am and will always be your sister!
March 2014 Highlight- Caine Prize Workshop Zimbabwe

Thanks to Lizzy Atree for an amazing time at Leopard Rock in Zimbabwe! It was such a joy and an honor to meet and share writing with Bella, Gertrude, Abubakar, Elnathan, Philani, Bryony, Chinelo, Abdul, Clifton and Michael. Thanks to Nyii and Henrietta for being such wonderful facilitators. You all are such wonderful people and I am so thankful to have shared space, time and stories with you all! I met the fabulous John Steward, Jane Morris, Jessesi Mungoshi, Roger Stringer, Batsi and Blessing!

I got to meet the then Minister of Gender VaMaphosa, Opah Muchinguri and had what I thought were amazing discussions about ending violence against women in Zimbabwe. I am so saddened by how things have turned out now. I wish I understood it but I don't because none of it is rational.

April 2014 Highlight- Rome OBR Summit
Colani H

Nyasha S

Fartoun and Aissatou

Kushi and Karin

It was a joy to finally meet Colani  in person and to see Nyasha once again. I met many women I greatly admire and I am so thankful.

May 2014- Domestic Violence workshop with my sisters of the Delta Sigma Theta Inc. Sorority Alumnaie Chapter! I was introduced to Laurita Thomas the Vice President of the Delta Sorority in Ann Arbor in December 2013. From there we worked together to create a community forum on Domestic and sexual violence. This Forum was a game changer for me, and I began thinking about evidence- based programs and interventions in minority communities.


Mother's Day 2014- Bring back our Girls March Ann Arbor
A few weeks after the kidnapping of over 250 school girls from Chibok Nigeria by Boko Haram. We put out a call to action on Mother's Day and joined the world in demanding the return of the girls and for the Nigerian and other governments to ensure the safe return of the girls. Till today the girls have not been found and only a few managed to escape on their own. This is still one of the saddest and most frustrating events of 2014.#Bringbackourgirls!

My Daughters and their friend leading the march.

My two older daughters
My girls and me

July, 2014- Hedgebrook Residency- Women Authoring Change!
It was in this place called Hedgebrook on an Island in my cabin where I met Barbara the writer. This is what Radical hospitality did for me: It unveiled me to myself and the novel was finally written. I was so blessed to share that journey with Greta, Lauren, Tracey, Rickey, Jewelle, Nicky

October 2014- Healthy relationships with Collegiate Deltas and HEADS
This was an interactive session with young men and women on the subject of health relationships and the power dynamics in  health and unhealthy intimate partnerships. I was inspired by these young men and women and by their hunger to understand the pathology in intimate partnerships and how to resolve conflicts effectively. We talked about being active bystanders and look forward to working with them in 2015 to create a network of active bystanders that included bar tenders and the police. After the session we held a candle lit vigil for women who had been killed by intimate partners and for survivors.



8 November 2014- Female Genital Mutilation Walk, Washington DC
This walk was organized by the Global Woman P.E.A.C.E Foundation (GWPF), an organization working to end FGM in the US and in Liberia. It was an emotional experience, listening to survivors, But I was determined to be a part of the movement to end FGM in the United States particularly "Vacation Cutting", where by girls are sent to countries where FGM is still practiced with impunity. they are sent during summer vacation from the US, get cut and are brought back to the United States for school. We will be partnering with GWPF to raise awareness of the practice in the US and to provide support for survivors and identify "at risk" girls in immigrant communities.

25 November 2014- Sexual Violence Panel Discussion at UNWomen, NYC

The panel discussion was organized by Inter-Parliamentary Union, UN Women and the World Future Council on “Violence against Women: Best Laws and Policies - Learning from the winners of the 2014 Future Policy Award.” The discussion  looked at successful strategies since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, remaining challenges and the way forward. At UN Women! 

Me with Ms. Mensah-Williams (Namibia) President of the Women Parliamentary Committee at the IPU

Me with Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Executive Director  UNWomen 
December 2014- Our Foundation is born and I was invited to become a Rotarian!
This foundation is the result of love support passion that grew out of my activism and is a mirror to the love and admiration I have for the beauty and resilience of African women. This Foundation is for and about them! To all who have supported me listened, wiped tears, laughed, encouraged and danced with me....THANK YOU! Here is to a miraculous 2015! I love you all!
This is our logo chosen from the ones below!