New York, New York – (March 8th, 2014) The panel discussion took place in New York in commemoration of International Women’s Day. It was attended by Native American performers, Beth Lamor, Pam Timmons, UN woman group, caravan TV representatives and all invited guests arrived at 12:30 PM at 310 East Forty second street New York, NY on March 8th, 2014.The panelists were Ms. Nancy Solomon, Ms. Helen Afework (who directly came from Ethiopia who is a student researcher on immigrant domestic workers), Mrs. Velma D. Bank and Dr. Georgina Falu (who is a board member of ESAC and the moderator of the event).
Dr. Georgina Falu- the moderator in red
Dr. Georgina Falu, as moderator, started the program by introducing the chairperson to give the remark for the event.Ms. Zewditu Fesseha, founder of ESAC, welcomed the attendees and gave a remark about the international women’s day by saying ” there is a long way to go in the women struggle especially women from Ethiopia trying to find a job in the gulf states who are experiencing hard times and a lot of abuse”. After Ms. Fesseha’s opening remarks, Dr. Falu brought other guest panelists on stage to elaborate on general Women’s issue.
Guest Panelists from Left to Right: Helen Afework, Bizu Riki, Velma D. Banks, and Zewditu Fesseha.
With this in mind she invited the first panelist Ms. Nancy Salamone. Nancy Salamone is an author and former Wall Street Executive who is an advocate against Domestic Abuse because she was victim of it. Due to her experience, Nancy spoke about women’s issues being very complex and she stressed that we have to work together to address the issues. She also spoke about how saddened she was when she watched a video showing an Ethiopian woman being beaten by Saudi men. She said, “is it a game to show their bravery? I’am astonished by how they could post this video on Youtube for everyone to go and see this horrific activity.” She continued saying” The women in the video was hanged upside and beaten viciously until she lost conscious and it’s saddening to see the world we live in and the abuse of these Ethiopian women. “. She also added ” let’s stand beside ESAC in addressing the issue of Ethiopian Women Domestic workers Violence in the Gulf countries. The beating of these woman in Saudi is a barbaric thing and this has to be stopped and the people there should be taken responsible for their actions. ESAC is working to address the issue and finding a solution for it.”
Next panelist, is Ms. Helen Afework who spoke about the abuse of Ethiopian Women Domestic Worker’s in the gulf-states and how brutal it is. She spoke about these Ethiopian Women not having legal rights, and to consider their way of reaching the Gulf-states (whether it was through illegal or legal channel), no matter what both are being abused. She also showed images and presentation on her thesis regarding Ethiopian Women Domestic Worker Abuse by the international media. With this observation, Helen added “the Ethiopian Government must educate these Ethiopian women/girls before they think about leaving. Even though, at this moment, the legal channel itself, it does not give these Ethiopian women enough support and education to endure the challenges ahead of them in these gulf-states. These women rely on influences of friends who may be lucky and their experiences.” She continued by saying “there is not enough resources for these women and girls to stay in Ethiopia”. Ms. Afework concluded by suggesting that ESAC work with local NGO to help for these women that desperate need and deserve.
After Ms. Afework’s presentation and speech, Buzu Rikki, who is an Ethiopian Jew from NY and founder of Chassida Shmella, gives her perspective of Ethiopian Women of Israel who are also facing women issues (on the international level). She explains that Ethiopian Jewish Women in Israel are abused by their husbands because the man (as the head of house) could not find a job in Israel and provide for his family. For the women, it is easy to find a job as a domestic worker and this changes the dynamic because she ends up being the head of the household and becomes the provider for the family. The situation creates conflict among the man as he feels he didn’t fulfill his duty and abuses his wife as a result of it. This is one scenario of Ethiopian women issues faced in Israel and Ms. Rikki concluding by saying “the abusers end up in prison and it took a lot of work to make that happen”. Often, coming from Ethiopia, with no education, this is the problem these Ethiopian Women Domestic Worker’s face.
Dr. Falu then presented the final panelist, Miss. Velma D. Banks who has organized and developed support groups like the Advancement of Colored People, Urban League, Black Solidarity Day and many more. Miss. Banks spoke about women’s issue being a human rights issue. She elaborate and explained how the two areas overlap one another and how we must recognize this issue. As the International Women’s Day 2014 ESAC event culminated, the floor was given to the audience to ask questions and give suggestions. Many great ideas and suggestions were discussed and ESAC is continuing to create awareness about the Ethiopian Women Domestic Worker Abuse in Gulf-states. Based on the first resolution, ESAC is still trying to initiate dialogue with hosting Gulf-states until a lasting solution is created. ESAC is anticipating it’s next annual International Women’s Day hopefully with this problem being resolved permanently.
Native American Performers
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