Bard College Student Sonita Alizada ’23 Addresses United Nations Ministerial Event on Afghanistan
Bard College junior, rapper, and international human rights activist Sonita Alizada spoke at a virtual United Nations Ministerial Event on Tuesday, September 21 focused on supporting women’s rights in Afghanistan. Alizada is an Afghan refugee who narrowly escaped being sold into marriage as a young girl. She has become an outspoken advocate for women and girls globally, using her music to call for an end to forced marriage.
The UN event, “Safeguarding the achievements of 20 years of international engagement in Afghanistan: how to continue supporting the future of Afghan women and girls and their access to education,” aimed to assess the challenges and risks currently faced by Afghan women and girls and identify how the international community can provide support and defend the progress that has been made in women’s rights and gender equality in the country.
Addressing the ministerial meeting, Alizada said, “You have been told that this is my story. The only reason that you’re hearing it is because my story is the only one, the only one of millions of Afghan women and girls that has had a happy ending. So let me be clear: this is not my story; it is the story of girls who will be ripped from their homes by Taliban militants and never be able to see their families again, of little boys who will never hear a woman’s opinion in their classroom and growing up under the Taliban’s brainwashing.”
Alizada called on those assembled to take immediate action by not recognizing the Taliban government, working to guarantee the rights of women and children, securing access to the Internet in Afghanistan, inviting Afghan people into conversations with decision makers, and working to keep Afghan girls in school.
Sonita Alizada was born in Herat, Afghanistan, under the Taliban regime. Her family fled the country for Iran when she was a child and lived as undocumented refugees. When Alizada’s family attempted to sell her into marriage, she resisted by finding her artistic voice and speaking out. Her first rap single, “Daughters for Sale,” was a viral hit and brought worldwide attention to the plight of millions of women and girls who are forced into marriage. Alizada is now a human rights and music major at Bard and plans to become a lawyer and to return to her country to work on behalf of Afghan women and children.
Alizada is a leader in conversations and activism at Bard College for women in Afghanistan. Monthly events supporting Afghan women take place in collaboration with the Bard Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). Bard students interested in getting involved in this important advocacy work can reach out to the CCE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch the Full UN Event Here
The Afghan Student Fund at Bard CollegeBard College has pledged to take in as many as 100 students, as well as threatened scholars, to Bard’s campuses in Annandale, Great Barrington, and Berlin. The needs are great and efforts to support the educational, physical, psychological, financial, and legal needs of these displaced individuals will be a marathon, not a sprint.
Bard has created the Afghan Student Fund to provide living, legal, and other necessary support to Afghan students who come to Bard. The College has committed to providing a full package to each student, including tuition (which is being waived), room and board, books, and a stipend. The Afghan Student Fund provides a clear way forward for educational opportunity and accessibility, and continues Bard’s legacy as a place of refuge in dark times. Give to the Afghan Student Fund
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Post Date: 09-22-2021