AJWS Bay Area: What’s Happening

December 2017

I think we are all ready for 2018. This year, we have witnessed storms that battered parts of the U.S. and the Caribbean, earthquakes in Mexico, famine in East Africa, and the horrific mass murder of the Rohingya taking place in Burma. Close to home, we have seen the devastation caused by wildfires—and if you have been directly impacted, I send the love and prayers of our AJWS community your way. We have also witnessed the almost daily erosion of human rights around the world as our present administration shirks its moral responsibility to protect the most vulnerable and marginalized people.

Thankfully, this year has also brought hard-earned and inspiring victories.

At AJWS, our grantees won a major victory in El Salvador. After mining companies leeched cyanide and iron into the water supply, essentially poisoning it, the number of cases of cancer and other deadly illnesses spiked. With AJWS’s support, tens of thousands of people mobilized and successfully convinced the government to ban all mining nationwide. El Salvador is the first country in the world to pass such a law.

In August, the Supreme Court of India struck down “triple talaq,” a practice that had allowed Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying the word “talaq”—meaning “divorce”—three times. This was a major victory for the Muslim women’s rights activists that AJWS supports, and the ruling will directly impact the lives of over 90 million women in India.

Such victories only happen because of your generous support. If you usually make a gift to AJWS at this time of year, I hope that you will renew your support as 2017 comes to a close. If you have any questions about our work and would like to connect, either in person or on the phone, please do not hesitate to reach out.

To show our appreciation to you and everyone in our incredible AJWS community, we are thrilled to invite you to join us for our annual holiday party on December 7th at One Market in San Francisco. Our President and CEO, Robert Bank, is flying in from to New York to thank you in person, and I hope to see you there.

On behalf of the San Francisco staff, our colleagues around the world, and most of all, the inspiring grantees we serve, I wish you a happy and healthy new year.


Alon Shalev
Executive Director, San Francisco and Western Region

AJWS Bay Area Upcoming Events


AJWS Holiday Party

Thursday, December 7, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
We are looking forward to our upcoming annual Holiday Party on December 7th, at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco. This event, hosted by our local Bay Area AJWS Board Members, provides us with a special opportunity to gather as a community, reflect on the past year’s successes and challenges, and to express our gratitude for our supporters. We hope you can join us for celebratory cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and to hear special remarks by AJWS President and CEO, Robert Bank.

Books Beyond Borders Marin

Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 6:30 p.m.
Book: Miss Burma, by Charmaine Craig
Film: Inside Burma: Land of Fear, by John Pilger and David Munro

Filmmakers John Pilger and David Munro will take us inside a never-seen Burma of the 1990s, offering a stark look at the horrific acts of murder, torture and slavery that took place during the long reign of military rule. We will also discuss Charmaine Craig’s novel, which illuminates this history through the true story of a family that survived it. After Burma falls to dictatorship in 1962, Louisa—a member of a persecuted ethnic minority—grows up to be the nation’s first beauty queen and ascends to a position of fame and privilege. Yet while Louisa’s fortune grows, her country suffers. Louisa is forced to reckon with the shadows of her family’s past, the West’s covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalties to the ongoing fight for freedom for her people.

We will watch a clip from the film and discuss. The book is profoundly moving and, while there is no need to have read or completed the book prior to the event, we do encourage you to do so.

Kenya Study Tour

October 14 – 21, 2018
Join AJWS on an unforgettable trip to Kenya, where we will meet grassroots groups working to protect the lives and lands of some of Kenya’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Take Action for the Rohingya

Please join us in our latest action to stop the mass murder of the Rohingya people: Urge your Senators to support the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017.