More On International Day Of The Girl/24th Annual National Coming Out Day

11 Oct

Michael Essien, who is an ambassador for Plan International’s Because I’m A Girl campaign did the honors to turn the Bernabeu pink tonight.

FROM REALMADRID.COM

The Santiago Bernabéu Has Been Lit Up in Pink to Mark the International Day of the Girl Child

“I am very proud and happy to form part of this initiative” said Michael Essien who pressed the button that lit up Real Madrid’s stadium

The first International Day of the Girl Child was celebrated, an event designated by the UN as a result of an international campaign by the charity Plan Because I Am a Girl. To mark this occasion the Santiago Bernbéu was lit up in pink. Michael Essien, who is this project’s ambassador, was responsible for pressing the button to turn on the lights on the stadium’s main façade. “I am very proud and happy to form part of this initiative” said the midfielder in a ceremony where a choir of 40 girls from the Alhambra school sang about the rights of girls.

There are 75 million girls in the world who do not attend school, 10 million who are forced to marry while still children and 150 million who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. The Santiago Bernabéu stadium, representing Spain, joined events around the world to mark the International Day of the Girl Child. The Empire State Building in New York, the pyramids in Egypt, the Niagara Falls, the Little Siren in Copenhagen, Toronto’s CN Tower, Berlin’s Sony Centre, the Qutub Minar and Purana Qila in India, and the London Eye have also been illuminated in pink.

“Turning the Santiago Bernabeu and other monuments around the world pink is much more than a symbolic act. It is the best way of promoting the rights of girls. Now millions of people know that supporting the education of girls is necessary and intelligent” said Concha López, the director general of Plan International in Spain.

Shakira in her capacity as a goodwill ambassador for Unicef had made an earlier visit to India to discuss the issue of child brides and education for girls.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one young woman who has become the face of the struggle for girls wanting an education worldwide: Malala Yousafzai.

On the first International Day of the Girl, the 14 year old Pakistani lays in critical condition in a military hospital outside of Islamabad. She was shot at point blank range in the head and neck by the Taliban. Her ‘crime’? Getting an education and speaking out to encourage others to do so. She told CNN last year “I have the right of education, I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.”

The Taliban published a ‘justification’ of their actions and threatened “If anyone thinks that Malala is targeted because of education, that’s absolutely wrong and is propaganda by media. Malala is targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation. And whom so ever will commit so in the future too will be targeted again by the TTP.

As you can see in the article, their actions have backfired and the incident has caused an international outcry against the brutal act.

You can read more of Malala’s story at these links (1  2  3  4)  She is an amazingly brave and self-possessed young woman. The world needs more like her. I’m sending thoughts and prayers for her recovery.

At the tumblr, The World We Want For Girls, people were asked to submit their wishes and hopes for the future. There are wonderful contributions – videos, pictures, postcards, etc. Go on over, have a look and add one of your own.

There’s a lot more to be done, but as I said in the comments of the earlier post today, there were events all over the world and it’s a damn good start.

Today (October 11th) is also the 24th annual National Coming Out Day. On this day, we lend our support and encouragement as allies to those who have not yet come out of the closet. The LGBT community also celebrates being able to live their lives openly and share their coming out stories.  HRC has some great resources and here’s some people sharing their coming out stories (1  2  3  4). Coming out is not an easy process even you have a supportive community around you, but in the end, there is a relief in the freedom. I’ve seen (and been a part of) some stories that had rather anti-climatic endings and others that are are still ongoing, painful open wounds. But I will say this, what you need and deserve in your life is people who love you, no matter who you are. What I’ve personally learned over the years  is that we make our true families and create our own communities. That may not always be your blood relatives or the people you surround yourself with now. But there are people out there who want to know the real you and will be accepting. There are a wealth of resources available to those who are questioning or dealing with issues regarding their sexuality. A great starting point is PFLAG or GLSEN (along with the HRC links above). You don’t need to go it alone.

I’ll leave you with this: In Honor of National Coming Out Day, 15 Great Quotes About Gayness

Love, Lozil

4 Responses to “More On International Day Of The Girl/24th Annual National Coming Out Day”

  1. Nooria October 12, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    Really profound messages in both the Day of The Girl and Coming Out Day. Hope we only go forward from here

  2. CinematiqueChic October 12, 2012 at 4:56 am #

    Okay aside from the nitpicky thing that I don’t like girls automatically equaling pink, this is completely wonderful. And thanks for posting about Coming Out Day too!

  3. Vanessa October 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    it’s reasons like this that i love Real Madrid 🙂 thank you Michael for being part of such an excellent cause 🙂

  4. black widow October 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    wonderful post, lozil! thank you for doing your part to shed light on both these issues. xoxo

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