Ann Suellentrop gave this talk March 6 at the Kansas City, Mo., rally led by Advocates of Silenced Turkey, which deplored violence against women in Turkey and the rise of domestic violence worldwide.
I have been a mother-baby nurse in Kansas City for 45 years. Today, I am so happy to be meeting to celebrate International Women’s Day, to lift up the rights of women worldwide! It’s true we will be talking about some very big evils of violence against women that are going on. But more than that, I want to mention the very great power of love.
Who can doubt the very great love of a mother for her child? A grandmother for her grandchildren?
And I want to say Loud and Clear: Evil and violence will never conquer love.
Love is the MOST powerful force in the world. Love is creative, it builds up, it nourishes, it seeks the good and truth and justice for all. Violent domination can never win. When we have love in our hearts and minds, we must take action, we must find a way to show it! When something is not right, we must speak up, we must bring injustice to the light!
I have also been on the board of PeaceWorks-KC for 13 years. PeaceWorks is mainly concerned with ending war and nuclear weapons. But PeaceWorks knows that many other issues are involved with this issue of nuclear weapons, such as racism and abuse of the Earth. One of these issues is the violent domination of the patriarchy, the power of men over women. The US has thousands of nuclear weapons that could end all life on Earth as we know it. The US even has about 60 of our nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey under NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization)!
But Gandhi taught the power of love is greater than all the nuclear bombs in the world! Martin Luther King Jr. said our choice today is nonviolence or nonexistence. So the women of the world and the majority of the nations of the world are getting together to put an end to nuclear weapons. On Jan. 22, the Ban Treaty (Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons) went into effect, making nuclear weapons illegal! Women are speaking up for LIFE!
I would like to invite you all to join PeaceWorks. We study nonviolence because we believe nonviolent power will win over the power of domination. When we dominate others, we lose our very humanity, our compassion. Being rich and powerful and privileged is held up by the US culture as being successful. But it is the exact opposite if your life is based on love—real love—self-sacrificing, all-inclusive love. Nonviolence is the key to bringing real, true peace with justice on Earth. Violence destroys relationships, whereas nonviolence strengthens them. Nonviolence doesn’t mean being passive. It means standing up and taking action for human dignity and the rights of all. Women at one time in history were not even considered HUMAN and they had no rights at all. And this is still the case in many areas. Even here in the US. That is why there is a “Me Too” movement and why women STILL are paid less than men. But when the community comes together and struggles in love, things change. That is what we are about today!
So let’s cheer today for what is leading us all to Peace with Justice! I’ll start and have you repeat it, OK?
The Power of Love
The Power of Soul
The Power of Justice
The Power of a mother’s love for her child
The Power of Truth
The Power of Nonviolence
The Power of Women