Opening Day - Monday
Serving as facilitators, students from Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) led the Girls Caucus at the Commission on the Status of Women Monday, explaining issues related to violence against women and working on the outcome document being considered by the Commission.
The students are part of the SSND 18-member delegation attending the CSW to advocate on behalf of women and girls. The opening day included sessions in the UN General Assembly, panel discussions, workshops and speakers addressing this year’s theme, “the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”
Raven Proctor, one of the NDMU students who served as a facilitator, said that experiencing girls and women from around the world all working together on the same issue was groundbreaking for her.
“It was really inspiring to see people from all different cultures working together and to see all sorts of girls from all sorts of backgrounds be concerned about things that might not seem to relate to them,” Raven said.
Kelly Coons, a sophomore at NDMU who attended the formal opening session in the General Assembly, said that she has heard so much about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) that she was compelled to research it further in her spare time and to become more involved in its ratification in the United States, one of only seven countries that have not ratified the Convention.
“I am inspired to write a resolution in support of CEDAW and work to see if Maryland could be the first state to ratify it,” Kelly said.
The Spiritual Empowerment for Women and Girls event, sponsored by Won Buddhism International and the United Religions Initiative, featured a panelists who were Jewish, Buddhist and Episcopalian, said Queenstar Arkong, one of the NDMU students. After one of the panelists arrived late because he had to attend to the death of a Muslim student, everyone at the present joined in silent prayer together.
“Regardless of what our own religion, in that one moment we were all joined together in prayer,” Queenstar said. “That was inspiring.”
|Sister Eileen Reilly helps Celesté Holmes-Tate (left) and Denise Hyland (right) mark a map the group is keeping to illustrate all of the conversations they have each day. Each time anyone meets a CSW delegate from another country, she marks that delegate's country on the map.|