Stories of Hope: Embracing the truest versions of ourselves

Last month, Jewish people around the world gathered to celebrate Passover. For many of us, this year’s seders presented challenging opportunities to reflect with our family and friends on what freedom and liberation mean today.

In this edition of our Stories of Hope newsletter, we want to pose another question: Once we’ve cast off whatever kept us feeling shackled, who can we become?

To help ignite your own answers, we’ve gathered stories of our grantee partners around the world who are answering that question in unique, powerful ways. These activists provide incredible examples of how to become the truest versions of ourselves once we’ve identified what’s holding us back.

Below, you’ll meet a group of trans men in El Salvador who’ve built a thriving community amid a society in which they once felt invisible. You’ll travel to the Dominican Republic, where an AJWS grantee is helping Afro-descendent girls embrace their identities through traditional dance. And you’ll hear from a mother in India who was married at 10 but demanded that her own daughters experience true freedom to choose their own futures.

These changemakers fought for — and achieved — their liberation; their own personal Passover stories. What they’ve built since then should inspire us all.

Thank you for being a part of the AJWS story.

Your friends at AJWS

Around the World

 

This Is Me: Traditional dance in the Dominican Republic is helping girls reclaim their identity

Welcome to Los Mercedes, a town in the Dominican Republic founded by Afro-descendent people who liberated themselves from slavery and created their own autonomous communities. There, AJWS grantee Así Soy (“This Is Me”) is teaching girls and young women of African ancestry to love themselves through traditional dance and theater in a country where Blackness is deeply stigmatized.

Invisible No More: Inside El Salvador’s growing movement for trans men’s rights

For years, within El Salvador’s LGBTQI+ community, many trans men say they felt invisible — while enduring discrimination and violence from Salvadoran society. That’s why HT El Salvador is so revolutionary — the organization has created a safe space for trans men to be themselves, as well as a platform for the trans men community to make their mark. As founder Villy Rivera says, HT “is a torch for trans people, lighting the path forward.”

A Different Future: One mother’s fight for her daughters’ education in India

Until recently, no girl in Medabas village in rural Mewat, India, had ever finished high school. That included Najee, who was only 10 when she was married off to her 30-year-old husband, forced to abandon school and her dreams of a future. But when Najee became a mother, she vowed that she would liberate her daughters from the same fate. When AJWS grantee AMIED began advocating for girls’ education in her village, she knew her moment had arrived.

Take Action for Democracy in Haiti

Haiti is in crisis. Millions of people are running out of food, clean water and gas. Gangs have even attacked public hospitals, police stations and government buildings. AJWS has been working alongside our grantees in Haiti for nearly two decades to protect human rights, uncover political corruption through local media and advocate for government accountability. In Washington, D.C., AJWS staff and partners are advocating for the U.S. government to support Haitian-led solutions to this crisis. Please raise your voice with us: Sign this letter to members of Congress urging them to support a safe and democratic future for Haiti.

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