[Via Asha Kowtal]
Big. Everything about the recent assertions of Dalit women has been big. Our determined voices are getting louder and we remain committed to keep escalating.
In the past year we have been in over 50 cities and over 8 countries breaking the silence on caste-based sexual violence. We have presented at Women in the World Summit, UN Human Rights Council, UN Economic Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific, Commission the Status of Women, European Parliament, PSAARC and several Universities across the globe.
We have had to escalate because the violence had not stopped.
We have had to escalate because the rule of law has not been implemented
We have had to escalate because one Dalit woman lost is one woman too much.
We surge ahead once again, by hosting an exclusive Panel Discussion on the Power of Dalit Women at the 1st Global Conference to Establish Dalit Rights in Washington DC on March 19-21.
This is a historic gathering of Dalit leaders from around the world convening to be able to develop and consolidate global strategies to eradicate caste and untouchability. It is significant for AIDMAM particularly as it marks the international debut of Manisha Devi State Leader of Haryana and Sanghapali Aruna, Dalit Scholar and AIDMAM organizer to speak publicly about our work in the U.S. It is also significant because it marks the next stage of International Dalit Women’s organizing where our assertion is clear and the need for intermediaries and those who would speak on our behalf is over. We are the ones we have been waiting for and we ask allies to respect our self-determination and clarity of vision.
Our leadership at this conference comes at time when we are truly fighting for the thick of rights in our countries as Dalit Women. With increased surveillance and ever-shrinking space for civil society voices, those of us facing multiple barriers are put under greater risk.
And yet we will not fall back, we must and can only MOVE FORWARD!
Now more than ever we must organize ourselves. There is a power in framing our articulations and fortifying our agency through a participatory process. We are rooted in our ancestors and are confident in our power of community knowledge. And most of all we move forward with deep compassion.
The dynamic nature of the movement ushers in new energy of centering the discourse on caste-based gender violence through the lens of Dalit women themselves. We reject the margins. And claim the center as we chart our own path to a world of justice, dignity and self-respect.
Please follow the hasthag #dalitwomenfight #dalitrightsmatter on twitter and on the Facebook through the feeds of Manisha Devi, Sanghapali Aruna Kornana, Asha Kowtal and Thenmozhi Soundararajan.