JASS Newsletters

On this International Women’s Day in this all-important International Women’s Month, with so much to shout about, we are lifting up three things to celebrate with you: Women as first-responders to crises, #GlobalSisterhood, Feminism for everybody.

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JASS Movements is JASS' quarterly e-newsletter with up to date content and stories about our Movement Building Initiatives across the globe. Sign up for the newsletter to keep up with JASS Movements!

First, a message of solidarity to the families and friends of those injured and killed in the recent Manchester bombing and to all those throughout the Middle East who continue to suffer from ceaseless wars. This sustained violence feeds on and fuels fear, anger and hatred—the key ingredients that serve to legitimize more weapons and more restrictions on basic rights. As we mourn, we must also untangle and change the policies and politics of inequality, discrimination, and dislocation that spark this violence.

“I believe that in the midst of all that despair, we need to nurture hope in ourselves as women, to believe that we are capable, that it’s possible to do something on behalf of our people.” – Berta Cáceres, 2014

It’s been a troubling week in troubling times. In the face of political fear mongering, people across the world have pulled together and amplified demands for change. Mourning and mobilizing is how love conquers hate.

Beirut, Paris, Baghdad, Syria... Too many communities torn by violence. We grieve with the families and communities hurt. Amidst the senseless and inevitable clamors for more war, the many gestures of solidarity that ripple across social media remind us of our common humanity and the enduring demand for peace.

Just like the moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. ~ Maya Angelou

We open this newsletter with an excerpt from renowned poem, Still I Rise, which is filled with words that uplift our spirits and remind us to keep working to create a better world for all, even as the tides get steeper. It reminds us to pause, re-evaluate, and start again. An important message given the changing political landscape, where it’s becoming increasingly dangerous for activists who are on the frontlines of crises to speak out.

Four months in, 2015 has had its share of crises, but still somehow filled with extraordinary examples of courage and resilience.

First, let’s celebrate. In El Salvador, Guadalupe Vasquez, a rape survivor was pardoned and released from prison after serving 7 years of a 30 year sentence for having a miscarriage—giving us hope of a possible reversal of the 20 year sentence Purvi Patel received in Indiana, USA. Both cases reveal the transnational character of efforts to control women’s bodies and the equally transnational character of the feminist push back.

On Wednesday our team in Mexico City joined 100,000 others in the streets to demand that the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa be returned alive, and that those responsible be held accountable. They marched with Nobel Laureate, Jody Williams, a close JASS ally who traveled there in solidarity to amplify the call to action.

From Gaza to Ukraine to the US-border, we are reminded of how interlinked our humanity and histories truly are, and of the importance of global citizenship—speaking out against injustice and war wherever it may be.

Happy International Women's Day! A big theme around the world is violence against women and how to stop it, and despite some grim realities, we're actually feeling optimistic. First, let's acknowledge how much progress has been made – laws, policies, services, task forces, research, training, and even phone apps! Though uneven, there is awareness that violence is wrong and unacceptable – in homes, in wars, in the military, in schools, at workplaces, at parties, on buses, and in intimate relationships.

We close 2013 by adding our own heart-felt goodbye to the many beautiful tributes in honor of the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela. Among the many ways that Mandela has shaped what we do and how we do it at JASS was his rare ability to bring together power and love as a potent force for change that made the impossible, possible.

Freedom of expression. How do we understand this very essential element of a strong democracy through the eyes of women? What does it take to make freedom of expression real for women? Our work at JASS tells us that freedom of expression is an aspiration, a right and a perpetual project – one defined by big political forces, local contexts, and beliefs about whose voice counts.

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