For Immediate Release
July 21, 2015
Contact: Medea Benjamin, [email protected]
Alli McCracken, [email protected]
Women Peacemakers Who Crossed Korean DMZ Hold Congressional Briefing on July 21 at 4pm
When: Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 4 pm
Where: U.S. Congress Rayburn House Building 226
Who: Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Korean War Veteran
Gloria Steinem, author, Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee
Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and diplomat
Abigail Disney, award-winning filmmaker and philanthropist
Brinton Lykes, Professor, Boston College
Christine Ahn, International Coordinator, Women Cross DMZ
(Washington, D.C.)— In May 2015, 30 prominent women peacemakers from 15 countries, including two Nobel Peace Laureates, made a historic journey across the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea calling for an end to the Korean War, family reunification, and women’s peacebuilding. On July 21 at 4 pm in House Rayburn Building room 2226, delegates—including US feminist icon Gloria Steinem—will hold a Congressional briefing to share insights from their journey across the Korean peninsula and future plans. The briefing is co-sponsored by the only two members of Congress who fought in the Korean War, Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Charles Rangel (D-NY), as well as two female members of the Congressional Korea Caucus, Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
While the delegation was in Korea, they participated in peace symposiums and walks with both North and South Korean women, where they learned about the impact of the unresolved Korean War on their lives.
“Our walk was the first step in a long-term process to work with women in Korea and around the world to end the Korean War,” says the lead organizer, Christine Ahn. “We must envision another future for Korea, and it must begin with engagement and talks.”
“As the Iran and Cuba deals show, diplomacy works,” says Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel and U.S. diplomat. “We must engage with North Korea, which will not only lead to greater security for Americans, but for Asia and our world.”
“We were able to be citizen diplomats and get both governments to agree to our crossing,” says Gloria Steinem. “By being in the same space, we were able to empathize with Korean women, which neurologists say happens when we are physically together with all five senses.”
“Our history of saber-rattling, sanctions and isolation has not brought the peninsula any closer to peace,” says filmmaker Abigail Disney. “Change in North Korea will come when the people are sufficiently dissatisfied with their own regime and profoundly less frightened that the rest of the world is looking to destroy them.”
This year, 2015, marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s arbitrary division into two separate states by the U.S. and former Soviet Union, which precipitated the 1950-53 Korean War. The 1953 Armistice Agreement halted the war, but without a peace settlement the Korean War still lives on and millions of families remain divided.