Statement for the Afghan Women and Girls Rally

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I saw a video posted by the New York Times of an Afghan woman named Crystal Bayat. On August 19th she helped organize a protest to celebrate Afghanistan independence. At great risk to her life, she and six other women marched through the streets of Afghanistan raising their country’s flag in defiance of the Taliban. She grew up in the freedom Afghanistan has experienced these last twenty years. This month was her first time ever coming face to face with the Taliban. They told her she had twenty days of freedom. Her response was, “Til they shoot me, I will strive, and I will seek my goals. I will not let them deprive me of my fundamental rights. I’m raising the voice of a million women.”

It brought me to tears. In Crystal, I see the same spirit of our Young Women for America leaders. As the Director of Young Women for America, I have the privilege and honor of working with young women across this country, from high schoolers to young professionals, who have this same bold spirit. They are strong, kind, smart, motivated, Christ-honoring individuals in diverse career paths who are using their gifts and talents to impact the world. I’m amazed at how they spend their time and the ways they are impacting their communities even now. As I consider their paths with endless opportunities in front of them, I can’t help but contrast it with the plight of women in Afghanistan at this moment. We must acknowledge what is happening to women in Afghanistan now and what we know will only continue to get worse. There is no future in the public square for women under Sharia law. They cannot safely leave their homes; they cannot leave their homes at all unless they have permission from men; their bodies must be covered head to toe; they cannot hold any positions of power; they cannot have jobs; they cannot drive. Images of women are being removed from public places. They are being beaten in the streets. Women in Afghanistan face a future of subjugation, rape, persecution, and even stonings. Women are dying and will continue to die.

The feminists are silent, but we will not be. At this very moment, across the country, Young Women for America leaders are joining you in prayer. From California to Pennsylvania and Alabama and beyond, YWA leaders are gathering their chapter members and friends or bowing their heads privately to come before the throne of God in unity. We can’t physically show up in Afghanistan, but right now, we are putting on the armor of God and engaging in spiritual battle. We are going to war against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places on behalf of our Afghan sisters.

And we trust in our God. We serve an awesome, all-powerful, all knowing, loving, and present God. He is among us. He hears us.