Sing for Hope HandaHarmony students were honored to lift their voices as part of the Official UN Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women held in the ECOSOC Chamber of UN Headquarters. Sing for Hope was the musical presenter of the day in a special performance featuring our Sing for Hope HandaHarmony Girls’ Chorus in works written and arranged for the occasion by Sing for Hope Education Director Sharyn Pirtle.
In the words of UNODC and UN Women, “The COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing conflicts, crises, and emergencies have intensified all forms of violence against women and girls. Furthermore, the pushback on women’s rights has resulted in a shrinking space for civil society and a rise in attacks against women human rights defenders and activists. However, evidence demonstrates that the presence of a strong and autonomous feminist movement is the single most critical factor to drive policy change in ending violence against women and girls.”
Participants at the summit — at which Sing for Hope HandaHarmony students were the sole featured performers — included Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General; Sima Bahous, Executive Director UN Women; Mana Shooshtari, Iranian Diaspora Activist; Ingrid Beck (Argentina), Journalist, #NiUnaMenos Movement; Janet Mbuguya (Kenya), Founder Inua Dada Foundation; Sonita Alizadeh, Afghan Rapper and Activist; and Bronwyn Kili (Papua New Guinea), UNFPA Young Ambassador. The event was moderated by Ms. Femi Oke, Senior Journalist at Al Jazeera (English).
The global theme for this year’s UNITE campaign, launched by the UN Secretary General, is “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls.” The international initiative calls upon governments and partners to show their solidarity to women’s rights movements and activists, inviting everyone to join the global movement. Under this global theme, the commemoration event echoed with the powerful words of feminists from all over the world,
The conference also presented the global estimates of gender-related killings of women and girls in the private sphere — a horrific reminder that violence against women and girls continues to be the most pervasive human rights violation worldwide. Following the findings in the report, the conference also reflected on how femicide and other forms of violence against women and girls can be prevented. Featured strategies for raising awareness — including Sing for Hope’s proven arts activism and cultural diplomacy —.formed a central aspect of the convening.