Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) reflects on why she has become a leading advocate for ending genocide and crimes against humanity:
“I have learned the most about the horrible conflicts in Darfur, the Congo, and northern Uganda from the hundreds of individuals who have traveled to Capitol Hill to shed light on these atrocities— many who have experienced the violence firsthand and others, including many young people, who are determined to make sure these crises get the attention they deserve.
“Over the course of my life and career, I have been saddened and disheartened by the cruel treatment of women and children. What we see on television or read about in the news is just a small snapshot of the horrors that many endure each and every day across the world.
“That is why I am deeply honored to be the chair of the first- ever Senate subcommittee to focus specifically on global women’s issues. In this role, I am determined to shine a spotlight on brutality against women and girls and help bring it to an end. In May 2009, I held the first hearing of my subcommittee to examine the use of violence against women as a tool of war in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a new series of initiatives for Congo.
“The voices of these women have been ignored for far too long. Historians and economists on the right and the left will tell you the same thing: No country will move ahead in today’s global economy if half its people are left behind.
“With so many problems in the world, it is more important than ever for my constituents to keep up the drumbeat for action. I am proud that my constituents in California have been very engaged in human rights issues at a grassroots level. From holding massive advocacy events to organizing letter writing campaigns to lobbying elected officials in Washington, these advocates do an amazing job of promoting public awareness.”
This profile and many others were compiled for The Enough Moment, a book by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle about engaged citizens – known and unknown, in the U.S. and abroad – who are mobilizing to help end genocide, rape, and the use of child soldiers in Africa. Visit the Enough Moment Wall to hear people describe their “Enough moment” and to upload a video, photo, or written testimonial of your own.