If you are undecided about attending the #walk2endfgm, it is time you made your final decision – your decision should be to attend this event. There are so many reasons why you should join Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation (GWPF) on Saturday, October 19th on the Washington National Mall for education, advocacy, snacks, mingling and walking. Moreover this is the 6th year of the organization hosting this event, and the crowd could not be any more interestingly diverse.
As GWPF celebrates the 6th year of the #walk2endfgm, the theme this year is “Why are Laws & Policies Important in Preventing FGM in the U.S.?” With six states in the U.S. criminalizing the practice of FGM since January this year, the organization made the decision to honor lawmakers, and give them recognition for joining in the campaign against FGM. The program preceding the #walk2endfgm on Saturday, the 19th is expected to educate the American public on the practice of FGM, how it can be prevented, and the importance of laws and policies against this heinous practice.
The distinguished and carefully chosen speaker of Walk Day is Pennsylvania State Representative, Thomas P. Murt. Representative Thomas Murt has served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 152nd Legislative District since 2007 and has actively served on various committees. In 2019, Rep. Murt was named chairman of the House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee and Subcommittee Chair on Mental Health with the Human Services Committee. Rep. Murt’s child labor legislation in defense of the children of Pennsylvania who work in the entertainment industry became law and has won national acclaim. As a veteran, Rep. Murt advocates for Pennsylvanians who have served in our armed forces and has supported programs to increase veterans’ benefits. Rep. Murt served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1990 to 2008, actively serving in Iraq before retiring as a staff sergeant. For his service he received the Army Commendation Medal and was nominated for the prestigious Humanitarian Service Medal. Rep. Murt earned a B.S. in Economics from Penn State University, an M.A. in Education from La Salle University, a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in Educational Administration from Temple University and a teaching certificate from Gwynedd-Mercy University. He currently lives in Hatboro with his wife, Maria and their three children and remains active in his community. He was relentless, and never gave up when each year he put forth the Bill to have FGM banned in his state; the Bill failed to pass through his state Senate and House, but in 2019, he was finally successful. You will most definitely want to hear what he has to say at the #walk2endfgm on Saturday, October 19th.
The purpose of the #walk2endfgm is to raise awareness, educate the public about FGM, and to receive financial support for the programs and services of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation, from their donors, sponsors and supporters. FGM is the intentional removal of either all or part of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. FGM is a heinous and violent practice that is done to little girls between the ages of infancy and 17 years old. Although it is sometimes done at infancy, the most popular age range is between 7 and 15. Statistics show that more than 8000 girls are genitally mutilated daily around the world. If you are wondering whether it exists in the U.S., the answer is yes, it is practiced right here in the United States. According to the Population Reference Bureau, approximately 513,000 girls are currently at risk of it, or have already experienced FGM in the United States. And the World Health Organization reports that approximately 200 million girls in the world, including the U.S. are living with the consequences of FGM.
The mission of Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is to empower women and girls through education in order to eradicate gender based violence, with full focus on female genital mutilation. The proceeds raised from the #walk2endfgm are used to support the mental and physical health of women and girls who have experienced FGM or are at risk of it – rehabilitation and prevention with support for clitoral/labia restorative surgery and counseling. In 2016 the organization raised enough funds to send a woman for clitoral/labia restorative surgery, and in 2017 the first woman was sent to surgery. The organization plans to send at least another woman in early 2020 for surgery, and another in late 2020. Your donation and registration fee are tax deductible. Global Woman P.E.A.C.E. Foundation is a registered 501c3 nonprofit organization.
There are various ways to register: A walker; a volunteer; a sponsor of a walker; a sponsor of the event; or register as a team, and get your friends and family to join your team. If you are unable to physically participate in the #walk2endfgm on October 19th, you can still participate by making a donation to a team of your choice on the website, and you will become a “virtual walker”. To do that, follow the same procedure to register as a walker but instead of selecting “Individual”, select “Team” and follow the instructions from there. The team that raises the most money will be awarded a first place prize. There will be 2nd and 3rd prizes for the 2 teams that raise the 2nd and 3rd most amounts.
The actual #walk2endfgm will begin at the corner of Memorial Drive and 15th Street, SW in Washington, D.C. It will continue toward Constitution Avenue and 15th, passing the African American Museum, crossing over to 17th Street, passing the National World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and to the Lincoln Memorial, where it will begin the return walk to the National Sylvan Theater, taking in the Reflecting Pool. On the way back to the Theater, the participants will have the opportunity to see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, walking down Independence Avenue and finally back at 15th Street and Memorial Drive, SW where it will disperse.
The organization looks forward to seeing you there, as they work together with you to help determine the importance of laws and policies in preventing FGM in the United States.
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