Movement Maker Kelly Miller Continues Learning Exchange with Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap
During the Move to End Violence’s recent international learning exchange, Movement Maker Kelly Miller of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence was deeply impacted and inspired by the work of Ruchira Gupta and her organization, Apne Aap. Eager to share this learning and inspiration with staff, Idaho’s tribal community, community domestic and sexual violence programs, and the larger community, Kelly invited Ruchira to Boise, Idaho to participate in several local events.
After a day of spaciousness and rest in Idaho, Ruchira spent a day with the staff of the Idaho Coalition, sharing a meal and talking about current feminist thought, readings that have inspired our respective work, and Ruchira’s perspective on the “last girl”. They talked about the challenges and the opportunities of federal funding, and the importance of movement building.
On the following day, the executive directors of Idaho’s tribal and community domestic and sexual violence programs came together to engage in conversation with Ruchira on reaching and standing by the last girl. From the Coeur d’Alene reservation to the agricultural community of Weiser to the conservative Mormon community in southeastern Idaho, the leaders of community and tribal programs shared their personal experiences of the last girl. Sixty community members joined the directors for a luncheon to celebrate International Women’s Day.
In the evening, Ruchira was a featured speaker at a public event for International Women’s Day. Over 600 people, more than half of whom were students from Boise State University, attended the event at the restored Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise. Ruchira spoke of her personal journey and the values that guide her work. After Ruchira’s presentation, the question and answer session sparked a powerful community conversation on movement building, power and privilege, the impact of violence on girls and women, the vital role of men as allies, and the links between pornography and violence.
The Idaho Coalition raised over $5,000 for Apne Aap, but more importantly raised the consciousness of movement builders in Idaho. In recognition for Ruchira’s contributions to the movement to end sex trafficking, the Idaho Coalition and the Idaho Human Rights Education Center presented Ruchira with a paver with her name and contribution to humanity that will be placed at the Anne Frank Memorial, an educational park dedicated to human rights and one of the only places in the world where the full Universal Declaration of Human Rights is on public display. Along a curved wall of stone, quotes from human rights leaders are embedded in the wall.
Read more about Ruchira’s visit by reading Kelly’s blog.
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