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WOMEN CROSSING THE LINE

“Every human being has the capacity to rebel and transgress, to cross the line of oppression, but usually a catalyst is required to invoke and politicize the spirit of rebellion. JASS might not be the catalyst, but it provides the tools that act as a stimulus, an awareness of the need for change…With political awareness, each woman crosses her own line when she is ready to do so (lines of oppression and exploitation, of what is acceptable or what is not)…”

Hope Chigudu, JASS Co-founder and Southern Africa Advisor

Happy International Women’s Day! This month, and always, we celebrate and honor women crossing the line all over the world.

As we reflect on our 20-year journey as JASS, we’ve asked 10 women from the regional networks we accompany to share their stories of crossing the line—why and how they did it. We want to hear from you too— scroll down for ways to share how you have crossed the line in your own life.

Every day, women cross many lines to gain freedom, justice, and equity. They challenge boundaries that exclude or discount them, defy social norms that perpetuate violence and discrimination, and fight to protect their bodies, rights, communities and lands. Despite their ingenuity, women’s organizing efforts are too often overlooked, silenced, and even erased from history. Amplifying women’s voices is a central pillar of JASS’ work to bring needed recognition to their ideas and innovations for creating a better world.

But women do not cross the line alone. We know from our work that being a shero or hero is often risky and dangerous. While personal courage is crucial for creating change, it is collective power that makes women stronger, safer, and more resilient in the face of repression and backlash. Collective power is a vital source of solidarity, strategic collaboration, and protection that enables women to catalyze action, speak out, and sustain their organizing efforts over the long haul.

We invite you to join the celebration on social media in several ways (tagging jass4justice and using #crosstheline and #JASSat20):

  • Complete and post one of these sentences “I cross the line…” or “Crossing the line means…”
  • Help build our mural of women crossing the line (WCL) by sharing a picture of yourself wearing our WCL t-shirt or holding a WCL notebook or sticker
  • Share a song, poem, piece of art, or essay that represents what crossing the line means to you
  • Donate $25 or more to get a WCL t-shirt or notebook

Thank you for crossing the line with us because it takes all of us, working together, to create a just future where everyone can belong and thrive.

Stories
Tiwonge Gondwe, Our Bodies, Our Lives
From Survivor to Feminist Organizer

Tiwonge Gondwe, a prominent woman leader of Our Bodies, Our Lives (OBOL), boldly states, "I have crossed the lines of breaking the culture of silence in my family, community, and society."

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