Olympia Women in Black
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Women in Black is an international network of women standing in silent vigils calling for peace, justice, and non-violent solutions to conflict throughout the world. Women in Black began in 1988 in Israel/Palestine and has spread to conflict areas throughout the world. Each group is autonomous but related in the way women stand - dressed in black, in silent vigil.
Demonstrations are normally women only and usually take the form of women wearing black, standing in a public place in silent, non-violent vigils at regular times and intervals. We encourage men who support Women in Black to stand silently in a group beside the women's vigil. m
Why women? Women-only peace activism does not suggest that women, any more than men, are natural peacemakers. However, women are disproportionately involved in caring work, thus have a particular experience of life. Women are often at the receiving end of gendered violence, and make up the majority of refugees.
In the combined efforts of men and women, women’s voices are often drowned out. When we act alone, two things are different. First, women’s voices are truly heard, which is important even if we have the same message as male peace activists. Second, sometimes even peace demonstrations get violent, and as women alone, we can choose forms of action we feel comfortable with – non-violent and expressive.
What can we achieve? Demonstrating together helps create solidarity and purpose. We can encourage and lend support to other women around the world who are often closer to the violence. We can educate, inform and influence public opinion to help make war an unthinkable option.
Women in Black has become a movement of women of conscience of all denominations and nationalities who hold vigils to protest violence in their part of the world: war, interethnic conflict, militarism, the arms industry, racism, neo-Nazism, violence against women, violence in the neighborhoods, etc. Each vigil is autonomous, setting its own policy and guidelines, though in all the vigils the women dress in black, symbolizing the tragedy of the victims of violence. What unites us all is our commitment to justice and a world free of violence.
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