As I held the candlelight in honour of and in sisterhood with those who gathered so recently to celebrate this year's winners of the World Pulse Spirit Awards, I was flooded with memories of the experience that began last year for me, to know that I was valued, to have had this extraordinary journey alongside my sisters Urmila and Arrey, and all my sisters recognized last year for our work, our dedication, and our passion for this simple change that we have been working for, an end to violence against all women and girls on this planet. Every form of violence. Everywhere.
As we gathered recently, we could feel the energy growing in the room from the simple joy of being together. We felt the joy that we are able to celebrate the women who have now been awarded this year’s prizes. We could feel the excitement and the joy to be able to have the light from our candles shining together, so deeply symbolic not only of our gratitude that we have been able to meet through World Pulse, also gratitude that at times we can actually see each other's faces and be in the same “room”. Even on social occasions to be actually in the same room, together. And on this particular day, to be able to celebrate the women we have chosen to honour this year. Women being honoured by us collectively, and women being recognized by this wonderful organization that gives us all so much and has made all this possible, our beloved Team and Board of World Pulse.
As I held that candle I felt how it has been all along, since finding World Pulse, that I have found so many other women in the world who want this as much as I do and who are working so hard to make it happen. And that because of World Pulse we are becoming and have become deep and cherished friends. What a gift this is, to be working together. This global sisterhood.
And because of our beautiful system of writing stories and sending them in, and being able to encourage each others’ stories, we already know these women who have been awarded prizes this year. How wonderful it is to lift them up and let them know how much we value them, how much we love them, how much we hope that each one of them will soar, and that we see, respect and value profoundly the work that they have been doing. That we celebrate one woman, one girl, safe and trusting herself, that each time this happens, we have succeeded.
Holding the candle to our sisters, I also felt what you all have done for me this year. We live in a world in which women are expected to be quiet if not silent. That we must never complain. In which women's voices are continually not taken seriously, ridiculed, silenced. Kept from getting money. This world in which we are quickly labelled as unacceptable, too dangerous, too radical, and a threat, to be not only silenced, to be punished. This, with the intention of stopping us, so that we would not have the strength or freedom to even think of creating change. So these gatherings of love are deeply healing. The support that I have felt from this sisterhood, and the support that I see all my sisters getting from each other, is something that continually astounds me. It overflows my heart. What a celebration that we are able to do this at all, and with the beauty and wisdom flowing here, able to do this with each other. Something that I never really imagined possible, while somehow wishing for it in my bones. As we all do. To have been supported by all of you, I am discovering even more what I can offer.
And I see and feel this, as we call out to all of our new Awardees, let this beautiful recognition and support flow through you from your global sisters.
Kirthi Jayakumar, Nini Mappo, Regina Awafe Young, Grace Ajt Ikirimat, Anjana, Basudha, Adriana Greenblatt, Marie A Abanga, Veronica Ngum Ndi and all the Honourable Mentions may you feel the warmth and light of our candles and ride this gentle, giant wave of this sisterhood of leaders, holding you and easing a beautiful journey forward.