I just had the incredible opportunity of meeting the woman who inspired me to pursue a career in human rights.
When I was a sophomore in college many years ago (I won’t say how many), I had the opportunity to attend the Nobel Peace Laureate Conference. I was so incredibly inspired by the stories shared by the Dalai Lama, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Betty Williams. But it was something that the phenomenal Jody Williams said that has stuck with me to this day and inspired me to dedicate my career to promoting human rights. She said, “Tears without action are wasted sentiment.” It was at that moment that I decided to dedicate my career to acting on the issues that I care deeply about. Her words made me realize that empathy alone wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to do something.
So you can imagine my excitement when I attended a luncheon yesterday hosted by The Institute for Inclusive Security, and sitting at the table next to me was none other than Jody Williams. As I rushed to her table to introduce myself when the luncheon ended, it dawned on me that those words are more relevant than ever. Congo’s women do not need more sympathy. They need action. They need to feed their children. They need to be able to walk safely to the market. They need health care. They need education. All of us can help meet those needs.
So the next time you find yourself shedding a tear for the women of Congo, please match that tear with an action. It will be action, not tears, that will flood Congo with change.
Learn how to take action for Congo’s women here.
Learn more about Jody Williams’ Nobel Women’s Initiative here.