Congresswoman Lois Frankel is leading her colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter today -- on the United Nations International Day of the Girl -- to Malala Yousafzai, the inspirational 16-year-old Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban and continues to be an unrelenting advocate for girls' education.
Just over a year ago, Malala was shot in the head on her way home from school by the Taliban, which had banned all girls from attending school. The Taliban targeted Malala in an attempt to silence her increasingly influential voice on the need to provide girls with education.
Since the assassination attempt, Malala has made a remarkable recovery and advocated for girls' education, earning her many international awards including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. This week on the anniversary of her shooting, the Taliban again issued threats to try to kill Malala again.
"We share your vision of equitable education as a basic human right Where girls have access to quality education, their communities enjoy greater economic growth, democracy, and social justice. That is why we echo your belief that, "one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world," Frankel and the Members wrote.
More than 50 Members have signed onto the effort headed by Frankel, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Despite gridlock and partisanship in Congress, there is a universal recognition of the humanity and bravery of Malala. Senior Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee from both parties and members from the bipartisan Women's Caucus have signed onto the letter.
Full text of the letter follows and to view the letter click here.
Dear Ms. Malala Yousafzai,
As Members of the United States House of Representatives we wish to send our support for your unrelenting mission to advance girls' education. Your recent international awards and your nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize are a testament to the impact of your bravery. It has been just over a year since the Taliban tried to silence you with an attack on your life, yet your voice has only grown louder. As you told the world at the United Nations in July, "the terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."
Today, we are pleased to join you in celebrating the United Nations International Day of the Girl, which is focused this year on "Innovating for Girls' Education." We share your vision of equitable education as a basic human right, and recognize that it is also a vital component of thriving communities. Where girls have access to quality education, their communities enjoy greater economic growth, democracy, and social justice. That is why we echo your belief that, "one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."
While there has been significant progress in improving access to education over the last two decades, tens of millions of girls continue to be deprived of this basic right. Your resolve in the face of the Taliban's oppressive ideology inspires us to remain firmly committed to advancing girls' education globally and to combatting all forms of violent extremism. That is why the United States continues to work with our international partners around the world to advance fundamental human rights and promote equal access to education.
Thank you for championing this cause and for being such a powerful symbol of hope and moderation in a region too long affected by violence and oppression.