“When sleeping women wake,” reads an old Asian proverb, “mountains move.”
On the International Day of Women, mountains were moved by women named Charlene, Arwa, Esperance, and Myriam. Women who bravely told their stories to the world so the violence women experience worldwide will end. Women who live in dangerous places, working to bring peace for themselves, their communities, and their world. Women who defy odds first by surviving in war zones and then by refusing to be a problem to be pitied, rising instead as peacemakers to be praised from mountain tops.
Mountains were moved by Emily, age 6, who proudly gave her thumbprint and a year’s worth of allowance to help women in war zones. They were moved by Mary, Petra, and Noelle, Russian immigrants in the United States who understood all too well the need to flee for one’s life and wore their green thumbs with pride. And mountains quaked in the wake of Jennifer, Louise, Kara, Madeline, and thousands of others who heard the cry rising up from the heart of Africa and decided they could no longer sit idly by while their sisters suffered at the hands of gender-based violence. Each of these women gave her thumbprint, a protest that seems to small to make a different, but when added together those thumbprints marched up Mt. Kilimanjaro proclaiming peace for women everywhere, and they will soon find their home in the UN where they’ll continue to advocate for funding and attention and justice for those who can’t fight for themselves.
Thousands of thumbprints, so ordinary and human, when given in peaceful protest against women being used as weapons of war, have a startlingly loud, collective shout. Today, women climbed, peacemakers shouted, policy makers listened, banners waved, voices rose…
And mountains moved.