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Young women speak out in Chicago against forced marriage and gender-based violence as part of national awareness-raising tour

A group of South Asian artists and advocates, members of Pomegranate Tree Group, have embarked on a six-city tour in partnership with Tahirih Justice Center to address violence in the lives of young women, including forced marriage, gender-based violence, racism, and patriarchy.

Honoring Our Heartbeats: A Tour to End Forced Marriage in the U.S. will bring three events to Chicago on Jan. 21-13, including a powerful multimedia performance, a forced marriage training workshop for service providers, and an issue briefing about efforts to foster a coordinated, national response to the hidden problem of forced marriage in the United States. The tour is inspired by a comic book, “Heartbeats: The IZZAT Project,” which the young women wrote to celebrate their resiliency in the face of violence in their personal lives.

Tahirih believes awareness-raising is an important step in ending forced marriage in the United States. The U.S. government recognizes forced marriage as a violation of human rights, and a 2011 national survey by Tahirih identified as many as 3,000 cases encountered across the country in a two-year period. Yet, forced marriage remains a hidden and neglected problem in this country. Individuals at risk have few places to turn for help and service providers are not equipped to recognize and respond to cases.

Geared toward policy makers, foundation officers, members of the legal community, and other allies who want to learn more about the issue of forced marriage in the United States and efforts to build a coordinated, national response to this human rights abuse.
Lunch provided.

12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. | Wednesday | Jan. 21
Mayer Brown LLP | 71 S. Wacker Drive

Open to service providers who would like to learn how to identify and respond to individuals facing or fleeing forced marriage in the United States.
Lunch provided at 12:30 p.m., with program beginning promptly at 1 p.m.

1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Thursday | Jan. 22
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
55 E. Jackson Blvd | Suite 2075

Open to all, the community forum will kick off with the play “When We Leave” and the film “Caged” by the authors of the comic book, “Heartbeats: The IZZAT Project,” which inspired the six-city “Heartbeats Tour.” The performance will be followed by a Q&A session and a reception, where free copies of the “Heartbeats” comic book will be available.
Lunch will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m. Program begins promptly at noon. Reception to follow.

12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. | Friday | Jan. 23
UIC Student Center East
750 S Halsted St #100 | 329 Cardinal Room