Hosted by International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), dozens of locals, ranging from residents to community leaders within the Washington D.C. community gathered at Mother’s Peace Garden on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2017), to uphold the dignity of women and young girls all around the world. Guests and speakers included Founder and President of Global Woman PEAC Foundation Angela Peabody.
“Millions of women and children’s lives are on the line every day: millions” addresses Howard University student and IWPG activist Jibria Waller. “How can anyone stand still thinking about this?”
Specifically, IWPG partnered with various community leaders to plant a memorial peace garden representing the millions of lives affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), which continues to be a strong global issue today. The planting location occured in Mother’s Peace Garden in South East D.C., known as the creation of a collaborative effort from numerous nonprofits and volunteers. Invited guests spoke on behalf of FGM and women’s rights, and afterwards attendees and guests received an opportunity to contribute to the garden by adding a personal flower that added up to create a peace garden.
FGM affects as many as 200 million lives worldwide, as of 2016. Age of prevalence ranges from days after birth to adulthood; many girls are cut before the age of five. The ritual stems from gender inequality, attempts to control female sexuality, and points of view regarding modesty and purity. Long term effects include fatal health complications and death, as well as psychological issues. Overall, FGM targets young women and their health, security, and civil rights.
The peace garden planted in Mother’s Peace Garden is one of several memorable gardens rooted in the Washington D.C. area, including the World War II Comfort Women Memorial Peace Garden in Fairfax County and the Constitutional Gardens near the National Mall.
IWPG is a globally-based NGO whose purpose is to bring awareness to gender inequalities and establish the role of women mothers in society. IWPG’s latest project includes the “War Cessation Movement,” which plays on the influence of a mother’s love in regards to protecting young lives in the battlefield and bringing a cessation of war and world peace. Branches of IWPG are established throughout over 100 countries and all 6 major continents.
“In the midst of the chaos within the past few months in D.C. and political parties transferring and moving, it’s refreshing to see a boost of activism done in a peaceful manner” states Waller. “I mean, what’s more peaceful and nonviolent than planting a peace garden?”