This post was featured on the Tri Sigma blog as Rio Ziegler’s (a student at Virginia Wesleyan College) reaction to her school’s screening of Half The Sky. It is republished with permission from Tri Sigma. Many schools continue to host viewing parties and are busy planning awareness campaigns for the spring semester. If you would like to tell your school’s story of action, please email blog(at)circleofsisterhood.org.
After the screening of Half the Sky, on my campus, Virginia Wesleyan College, I left beaming with pride and challenged to do everything in my power to advocate for Circle of Sisterhood. With the help of my: Panhellenic Council, chapter sorority sisters, friends, faculty and student athletes; our Boyd Dining Hall filled with 250 members of the Virginia Wesleyan community. That night, I experienced a overwhelming amount of emotions as I watched one of the most inspiring documentaries of my life. My heart developed a special place for the empowerment of women and enabling them the opportunity to gain educational opportunities.
This documentary shocked and awed members of my campus community. We were in disbelief that women in other countries, as well as our own, were being: brutally beaten, emotionally abused, traumatized, and outcasted from society after being victimized so badly.
Rio and her PHA Executive Board at Virginia Wesleyan seen pictured here.
Even the men on our campus were shocked and inspired to advocate for Circle of Sisterhood. One of our men’s lacrosse players expressed, “Sitting at the table, my teammates and I were in disbelief…it was heart wrenching.” I find this cause to be something that has been kept under wraps for entirely to long. The fact that things like these go on in the world and so many are not aware is very surprising.
The Half the Sky Movement began to gain recognition with the publication of the book titled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I love the fact that the book has been transformed into a documentary to advocate this cause through an additional mass media forum and I am so honored that the National Panhellenic Conference chose this as our National Philanthropy. Sisters all over the nation are doing what we do best: collaborating ideas, recruiting advocates and taking action in order to bring this issue to light.
The way I see it, this is our chance for sisters to help sisters.
Every woman in that documentary could be a potential sister of mine. Knowing that she has not been given the opportunity to gain the education, love, values, confidence and character that sorority life offers deeply saddens me. I want these girls to have the chance to engage in the opportunities that I have been so blessed to have experienced.
One aspect of this documentary that stood out to me, was the tireless effort these women put into working to gain educational opportunities. One of the girls worked endless hours on her feet, selling lottery tickets, just to be able to afford to go to school in horrendous conditions. Meanwhile, collegiate girls in America (myself included) have been guilty of complaining about things that seem meaningless once one sees what the women in Half the Sky have to endure.
After watching Half the Sky, I felt so privileged to even have the opportunity to get an education, especially at a university or college with accommodations that are next to impossible in other parts of the world. I kept thinking, if these amazing, hardworking women had the same opportunities I had been given, together we really could change the world. A particular sentence stood out to me during the documentary, “These girls represent the untapped opportunity.” With that said, my heart will forever be an advocate for Circle of Sisterhood and I’m confident that Sigma Sigma Sigma and Panhellenic will work together to help my sisters all over the world gain the opportunity to unlock this “untapped potential.”
Ginny Carroll, the founder of Circle of Sisterhood, with the women at Virginia Wesleyan pictured here.
The message in the documentary is simple. Take Action.