As 2011 comes to a close, we reflect on a year of despair and hope. Despair (and anger) at the continuing economic violence inflicted by global financial institutions and their elected comrades in arms; at the discrimination and violence perpetrated against friends and colleagues based on who they are and what they do; and the seemingly endless assault on livelihoods, safety nets, and the environment. But in 2011 especially we find hope in the resilience, courage, and ingenuity of the many that are rising up against injustice, inequality and violence. From the No More Blood campaign in Mexico to the ever-multiplying “Occupy” movement, from the courageous Egyptians who’ve returned to Tahrir Square to demand real democracy to the Indians fighting against corruption – people are fed up, asking big questions and seeking saner, fairer, more sustainable alternatives.
Given the media coverage, you might ask, “Where are the women?” While often invisible in the broader story, women are on the frontlines and the rearguard of all of these mobilizations, in addition to waging the endless fight for their own freedom, rights, and safety. And that’s why JASS and its global community of women activists and their allies are so important: to keep women’s voices, issues and organizing efforts visible and central to any human rights and equality agenda. As these stories illustrate, women are front and center, and especially young women. Joining the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, women from Zimbabwe to Cambodia and Guatemala want to be free from violence.
Thank you for your continued support of JASS’ and our efforts to amplify women’s voice, visibility and collective organizing power.
Wishing you a happy holiday and a peaceful new year,
Lisa VeneKlasen, on behalf of the JASS team.