Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pink Hats Off To Malala. Pakistani Blogger Girl Not Afraid To Share Her Voice

It's all over the news this morning. A report on Malala Yousafzai, a courageous 14 year old girl who was shot by the Talabin on Tuesday. Why? Because she blogged about the need for girls' education. The Taliban didn't just plan to quiet Malala, but to also silence the hope and growing strength of her Pakistani sisters. It just goes to show how one single voice can be a pretty powerful thing.

The story targets my own personal mission in shrapnel effect. First, as a teaching artist, I bring a language arts program to Atlanta's 3-12 grade classrooms. The title of the workshop? You've Got To Blog It. Expressing Your Point-Of-View In A Digital Age. That's right. I encourage kids, the same age as Malala, to share their voice through blogging. That's exactly what Malala did and look what happened to her. (Thankfully, our country has something called "Freedom of Speech" and the students I work with need not worry about the Taliban disagreeing with their blog.)

While extreme, Malala's tragedy illustrates the point, "look what will happen to you if you speak up!" How many of us are afraid to share our own point-of-view, much less express it through blogging, lest we be fired at by angry words or disapproval from a particular group from whom we seek approval. It takes courage to reveal one's opinions and yet, the reward of speaking up is incredibly empowering. With each thought revealed to others comes a better understanding and therefore, acceptance of self. This is why I believe in my workshop. I want kids to gain confidence and know it's okay to express themselves and blogging is one way to do that.

Secondly, as the cartoonist of Chloe Pink™, a cartoon about girls, I'm committed to the progress of independence for the the female race. "Why girls?" you ask. The great New Yorker Cartoonist, Liza Donnelly, put it into words best for me at Cartooning For Peace last spring. According to Liza, "Girls are raised to not share their opinions in this world." "How messed up is that!" says Chloe Pink.

Very. Which is why Malala showed unfettered courage in sharing her voice against the ways of the Taliban and their backwards, infantile, old world thinking. She was making change for girls everywhere and making it easier for them to speak up, too. We pray for Malala's recovery as she stood up for girls and education. That was her dream.

What are your dreams, girl? How will you follow them today and in your future? What can you stand for like Malala to make the world a better place for yourself and others?
Sharna Fulton

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