Raquel Evita Saraswati

Raquel Evita Saraswati is an American Muslim activist  and writer. Raquel focuses primarily on issues related to the status of women and girls in the Muslim world and in Islamic communities in the West.  Raquel is a vocal advocate for religious reform, freedom of speech, and equal rights for women and girls. She works to eradicate honor and gender-based violence (including female genital mutilation), end forced and child marriages, and protect the separation of religion and state.

Raquel has published in various papers and journals, including Publico, Portugal’s largest daily, Aquila Style (a cosmopolitan Muslim women’s magazine published Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei), and others. She has lectured in North America and Europe on issues like honor killings, dissent, and the role of women in transforming the Muslim world.

In 2007, Raquel received the prestigious Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award, granted to “those individuals who have endured overwhelming hostility and hate, yet have handled themselves with the utmost grace.”

In 2010, Raquel received a Durga Award at the 6th annual San Diego IndieFest. The Durga Awards are presented annually to “outstanding women who dedicate their lives to healing communities.” Raquel is the first woman under age 30 to receive this award.

Click here to support Raquel’s new project, The Adalah Initiative,  with a financial contribution. (Contributions are not yet tax-deductible.)

Click here to follow her on Twitter, and email her atraquelevita@raquelevita.com. (You can also visit her on Pinterest, and if you’re still using it, MySpace.)

“Another world is not only possible, she’s on the way. And, on a quiet day, if you listen very carefully – you can hear her breathe.”

– Arundhati Roy

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Honor violence affects thousands of women every year worldwide. Recently featured in Cosmopolitan UK, Honor Diaries ALL STAR cast of popular women’s advocates uses Hollywood to shed light on the dark abuse happening all around the world.

Honor Diaries, a film about women’s rights, features nine courageous women’s rights advocates with connections to Muslim-majority societies. These women, who have witnessed firsthand the hardships women endure, are profiled in their efforts to affect change, both in their communities and beyond.

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster. Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Photo/Video Credit: Honor Diaries

 

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Malala Yousafzai was one of three nominees for the 2014 World Children’s Prize – also known as the “Children’s Nobel.” The beautiful advocate may not have won the prize for peace this morning, but in a world so clearly separated by contrasting views, she has inspired a common devotion from millions of children & adults alike who pray for equal education opportunities world-wide.

The admiration isn’t surprising considering at the youthful age of 16, her ability to convey the importance of education, “Having lived in Asia for a number of years, I saw firsthand what a lack of educational opportunities means to a woman long-term and the poverty nations suffer as a result of a strong percentage of their population remaining unschooled.” Amy Cooper on why she supports Malala

Speaking at the World Bank, Malala is thankful to have been nominated for the prestigous award. She may not have won recognition in the form of this particular prize…but her bravery and understanding is a gift to our society and has definately won our hearts.

Photo/Video Credit: The Malala Fund/World Bank 

 

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Next Friday, February 14, 2014 V-Board member Thandie Newton will join supporters for V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. The actress focuses much of her support towards sexually abused women in the Congo. As a child, Thandie Newton saw her neighbor get abused by her husband, since then she has made it her mission to help abused women.
Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 1.19.14 PMIn a recent interview with Gayle Jo Carter of USA Today, Newton expresses the trauma of her childhood, “It was shocking and no one was saying it was wrong. She didn’t call the police; that was just part of the relationship.” After becoming a mom, Newton was motivated to devote her energies to bring awareness to “the destruction of women” around the world: “I think I found the woman in me when I had my children.”

 

Photo/Video Credit:  Terry Rice, WireImage

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Somaly Mam Foundation’s launch party for Project Futures. Project Futures global is a new platform where volunteers, activists and young professionals can join together in the fight against modern-slavery. Promoter Chris Talbott of the Cause Effect Agency was responsible for the event.

 

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