Jun 24, 2016


Joan Chittister, June 23, 2016 | National Catholic Reporter

I was just settling in at the Carter Center in Atlanta for the first session of the “Human Rights Defenders Forum” when it happened. In so august an environment, with participants streaming in from countries I had yet to see, a beautiful young American woman, Melinda, spied a group at the other end of the center’s theater-style conference room. “Oh,” she cried, her arms open wide and her face alight, “my family.” And by that time, they were here. I could hear the languages but not understand them. I could see the smiles but did not know what could have inspired them. But one thing was clear: Family? Obviously so but obviously not. Friends, clearly — but how could that be? I mean, so intense — so immediate — and from that far away?

It was, after all, an international gathering meant to stoke a movement for peace and human rights and, most of all, to recognize the particular difficulties of women everywhere who lack them to the full.

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