Two years ago I lived in a house where I received endless amounts of mail for an old tenant. Mostly, letters came from Amnesty International and Green Peace. One day, World Pulse Magazine showed up. It came at a time when I was actively reading poetry for fundraisers meant to educate and empower women. I received the magazine after I read at the first fundraiser. I wanted to share the most personal memories I had written about because the event was for women in safe houses re-building their lives. I was nervous to expose my mother’s addictions and loss of self, my father’s alcoholism and abuse, and my pain from experiencing hate crimes. When I looked out, I saw women crying as I read. Afterward, women from the program told me that because I shared such personal memories, they felt inspired to share their stories. It was my turn to cry, not only because what they had endured was violence and silence, but because they were so brave to expose themselves. I do not think it was my words which inspired them to read, but the yearning within them to be released from their own pain by refusing to remain silent.

I was inspired to apply for Voices of the Future because I want to continue to speak boldly about issues that are surrounded by silence. I write about things people are scared to discuss and I refuse to live in shadows. Voices of the Future will teach me to continuously listen, focus on global issues, and speak strongly where it is needed most.

My personal vision for the future is a world where every woman has the resources, choice, and chance to be educated and know herself. I have broken the cycles of addiction and violence in my family through education and I believe everyone deserves the same opportunity. I envision myself speaking globally and my audience of women growing larger every year. It has already grown from a few people at a local café, to fundraisers with hundreds of people, and now to World Pulse. I believe that saving girls and women is the only thing that will transform our world, and to do so education and empowerment must be top priorities. Voices of the Future fits into this by educating me further about women everywhere, what they have been through, are going through, and what they need right now to create positive changes that will break long and violent cycles of silence, and ultimately how I can help. Our voices blend and our stories are intertwined. We are here because we feel the pulse quickening, deepening. On March 5, Jensine Larsen replied to a poem I wrote by saying, “Another cello note soars to our sisters living in the shadows, wherever they are,” and that is the reason I return to World Pulse to share, to listen, to educate myself and others, to empower whoever I can whenever it is possible simply by speaking.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.

Comment on this Post


Hi Mei Li,

I really enjoyed this post...your powerful voice shines. Education is a powerful tool.

blessed be, Pax Feminina

Peace! Paix! Paz! Shalom! Salaam! Friede! Mir! Heiwa! Aman Malay! Ashtee! Damai! Ets'a'an Olal! Hau! Iri'ni! K'é! Maluhia! Nabad-Da! Olakamigenoka! Pingan! Shanti! Uxolo!

It is power. I feel empowered by essays, poems, articles, prose, fiction, nonfiction, faces that I read and see daily and cannot stop sharing them. It is not enough for me to go to a university and have a degree. It means so much more to share the knowledge I received and spread it. One educated woman can accomplish so much, but if she shares that knowledge willingly and lavishly - we all begin to heal. I may not have the answers, but I have an insatiable need to learn and share my experiences, to listen and also be heard.

Thank you for both listening, and hearing me.

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

Thank you Melissa, it is a very touching post expressing the strenght that is in you and that you transmit to other women. I share your vision of the future that gives women equality in every field and in every country of the world no matter who they are, where they come from and what their experiences are. Peace to you Eliana


for listening. Tonight at an open mic I read a few poems that I have not read in almost two years. The last one exposes me memory by memory, as if I were a quilt unraveling by my own hands. Afterward, a woman spoke to me about the seven years she lived in Saudi Arabia. She said the people who lived next door to her had a maid from Bangledesh. The husband and cousin who lived in the house brutally raped her, cut off one of her breasts, tossed a sheet over her and left her in the basement where she slept. They called the police and told them she died from the fumes of the if car fumes could sever her breast, as if car fumes could explain the surfaced bruises and wounds, as if she would ever have an autopsy that would reveal the internal bruising of the pelvis - the tears, the gashes - nothing happened to the men. The woman said, "They were left alone, because, after all...they are men."

Well, even if nothing happened - the little I knew of her was just posted and now you will read it and so will others. And hopefully we will all be reminded that EVERY SINGLE MOMENT a woman anywhere is abused, brutalized, minimized, marginalized, categorized, used, disgarded as if the only thing she has to offer the world is her vaginal canal.

It brings my heart peace knowing you share my vision and I hope there are more of us, obviously being a part of VOF has taught/shown me that there many of us...who wish to be the ones who break the violent cycles of silence with story and truth.

The greatest thing I will commit to in my life, which I will stand by at all costs, is the refusal to remain silent. To talk pretty instead of honestly. To bat my eyes and lower my head instead of remaining fixed in stance and resilliant in speech.

Gratitude for listening, and thank you for reminding me that there are more of us sharing the same vision - that is empowering :)

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

Dear Melissa, thank you for sharing the story about the situation of women and migrant women in Saudi Arabia. It is the first but important step to raise awareness of women's condition around the world. Thank you for keeping your eyes open and for speaking out for those who can not do so for several reasons. Thank you. I appreciate very much the open approach you have and the courage you demonstrate. Thank you. this is really a wonderful platform to share and exchange experiences, ideas, thoughts, and dreams and to raise awareness for the topics that are related to gender based issues or to any topic important to every women, no matter where she comes from. We are so many and we are so powerful. We can make a difference if we speak out even after the VOF. Peace to you Eliana


Thank you for sharing your story and the stories of others. You speak a truth that is startling, uncomfortable and all the more important to hear.

I, like you, believe in the power of words. In the strength of women's voices. Thank you for adding yours to the chorus. I look forward to hearing more of your story.

All the best, rmweaver

Dear Melissa,

Reading your posts reaffirms why I wanted to become involved with the work of World Pulse. Your experiences and the voice with which you share them with the world are truly inspiring. You have the ability to move others into action and empower women to share their stories and educate people everywhere. Hearing about how World Pulse showed up at your doorstep while you were preparing for fundraisers seems like fate and I know that we are all grateful to have your voice join ours here in this online community. Thank you for your passion, for your commitment, and for your refusal to let silence dampen the voices of women.

Best wishes,


The story was more in-depth, but with a 500 word's hard to include everything. World Pulse did show up at my doorstep and I came across Jensine's introduction at the beginning when I was taking scissors to the magazine. I was exchanging images and words with a poet friend of mine for a writing exercise we wanted to share. After cutting up a few AdBusters magazines and whatever else was lying around, World Pulse was next in the stack. I had read through the AdBusters, so they were safe to cut up...but I hadn't read World Pulse so I started to and knew I couldn't take scissors to it until I read it cover to cover.

I felt connected from the moment I began reading because I had been writing for a long while about the connectivity of women. I had just met someone who is now one of my closest and loveliest friends and was feeling the inspiring affects of connecting, divulging, communing over causes, sharing experiences and discussing solutions. My friendship with her soon became one of the most enriching in my life.

Thank you for being grateful for my voice, I am grateful for your ears and presence on World Pulse as well.


"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

Your ability to tell our stories and the strength of your vision brings women everywhere closer to their own inner truth. I feel how committed you are to make change happen now! Keep pushing those visceral boundaries....

Kathleen Abood

I love your Forest for the Trees Installation print : )

I feel the closer we are to the natural world, the more we understand the oppression of the human species. I prepared starters for seedlings within the past two weeks and watched sunflowers sprout over 5 inches in 6 days.

This evening I went to see a friend who showed me a stack of photos as tall as my hand from her last trip home to Venzuela. The photos were filled with natural hot springs surrounded by lush forest, green and blue ocean waters, children amidst only sand, yoga poses on an island I cannot remember the name of where her childhood friend is married to the director of a preservation and she is in charge of sea turtle preservation. A smile was never missing from a photograph. We spoke in-depth about the necessity to be in nature. I mention all of this because I just viewed your website and smiled at each painting and print.

My home is surrounded by plazas and Wal-Marts. In any direction, I can reach a Wal-Mart within 3-5 minutes, or under. I struggle with this and grieve the loss of a land that inherently was stolen to begin with, but as though it is not bad enough to live on land that was stolen over 200 years ago and its Native inhabitants (who actually valued the land...and their connection to it) made virtually invisible, it is now and has been continuously depleted and capitalized on and turned ugly, useless. Where parks once were - parking lots. Phoenix itself has an orbit around the city that looks like rust and debris. In many places there is not enough of anything (hoarding of resources by 1st world countries, exploitation of 3rd world countries) - I feel that one of the problems in the United States is that there is too much of nothing, and by nothing, I mean accessibility to THINGS, so also the preoccupation with these THINGS. Do you ever feel like that where you are? My friend lived in Hawai'i for seven years and told me that only 10% of the foliage there is native now, is that accurate? I think it is also a myth that Hawai'i is the 50th US State, instead of understood as an occupied nation. I do not know enough about Hawai'i's history, but if it is true that only 10% of the foliage is native, that would make sense since it has been occupied since 1893 and sold as a .25 cent post card ever since.

I really want to thank you for responding to me. Because after I typed the last paragraph I googled something about Hawaii and was led to my new favorite resource. this website features a 25 minute video from and focuses on the subject of hawai'i vs. us imperialism. This led me to another video by the same organization. I've been thinking about what I will write about for the third week of Voices of the Future. I'm supposed to look at the issues in my community and pose solutions. I thought instantly of Arizona law SB 1070, propagandized as a law against illegal immigration.

So, thank you...because the second video I watched was this one

which was....(this does not happen too often, but I'm about to take this post full-circle) also a topic during my wonderful dinner this evening since my friend did immigrate from Venezuela 10 years ago and has been involved in this heated debate in Arizona. I consider this video to be a valuable resource and will share it extensively and have you to thank for that. Thank you so much Kathleen :)

The official website for this 501(c)3 organization dedicated to political re-education, amongst many other things.

again, the utmost gratitude, I love new resources and am surprised I've never stumbled upon this before!

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi