Please attend an event Sat., 3/12, 1-2 pm, observing the celebration of International Women’s Day. Advocates for Silenced Turkey are hosting this rally at 4405 Gillham Road, KCMO, 1-2 pm. The planners moved the rally indoors (to the Penn Valley Friends Meeting house, at the juncture of Gillham with 44th Street and Charlotte Avenue) because of the threat of extremely cold weather.  The event features music and poetry, plus a T-shirt and plant giveaway. Some speakers will describe the widespread jailing of women in Turkey; some will condemn domestic violence worldwide. For info, contact Eyyup Esen, eyyupesen@gmail.com, 785-979-1307.

Metin, on left, and Yusuf happily “stand up for women’s rights” in Turkey and in the world.

The emcee, Kari O’Rourke, also served as emcee last year, the first year for the rally. “We amplify the voice of those who can’t speak for themselves” in Turkey or here, says Kari. “We give them hope. Also, in our own KC community, we have serious concerns about the 200-plus Afghani families holed up in a hotel because the government hasn’t processed their paperwork. The truth is, if one suffers, we all suffer.”

Reports from Turkey, ruled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, indicate that even pregnant women are being jailed and forced to have their babies in prison. Kari says one of this year’s speakers—Smeyra—had gone back to Turkey to prepare for her wedding, but during the preparations, the Army came into their home, seized her mother, and jailed her for two years—with no warning, with no reason the family could identify.

Poster from Advocates for Silenced Turkey

Another speaker will be Bennette Dibben, who has been active both in PeaceWorks Kansas City and KC Tenants. Rally planners are inviting KC Tenants to join us, as well as staff from domestic violence shelters and, in KC KS, Keeler Women’s Center, a service of the Benedictine Sisters.

And how important is women’s voice? Helen Caldicott, longtime activist in Physicians for Social Responsibility, says, “Women are the key to peace!”