He Named Me Malala : a documentary recommendation

“there is a moment where you have to choose.. whether to be silent or to stand up”

I watched this documentary film recently and found myself incredibly moved. The women’s march on Washington has had me pondering not just what basic rights women have had to fight for here at home, but the battles that are still fought daily – and often lost – for women to be treated with dignity and worth in other countries around the world. This is one such extreme story of a girl standing up for her deepest hopes. I remember hearing a bit of her story in the news a few years ago, but never read her book or watched this film until recently.

This documentary was recommended to me first by my older boys, who watched it in school and came home saying how deeply it impacted them. I got around to watching it myself and was so inspired by this brave girl, whose passion for education lead her to be targeted and shot in the head by the Taliban. In the wake of her survival she became more vocal than ever, a powerful voice for girls who are being threatened for trying to claim basic rights, and co-winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. here’s a preview:

as she said, so beautifully in the film,

“we realize the importance of light when we see darkness.
we realize the importance of a voice when we are silenced.”

To my dear friends, especially those raising a daughter, this is a must watch. It’s available on hulu right now, and I hope it will inspire awe and gratitude in you as it did for me.

in (true) solidarity with.


My friend devon wrote me this morning. She was making posters and signs for the march in NYC today, reminding her of the days when we made cheerleading signs for the football games in high school. At one point, I dreamed that this morning I’d be marching next to her past the capitol building with thousands of others, representing a contingent of people stating that women’s rights are human rights.

or as the mission statement of the women’s march site says:

I watched what I could stomach of the inauguration yesterday, then turned it off and thought about this march. I thought about how important it is that today women (and men) from all over our country would flock to Washington or their closest local march and assert the value of their lives, of all lives, and especially give a voice of honor to those that our government would wish to shove in the margins.

When I look at the women’s march, I see a gospel movement, a beloved movement. I see a vision for mutual respect and honor based solely on each of us being a member of the human family and nothing more or less. I can think of nothing more redemptive the day after a man who (fill in the blanks with all the buzz words about his lack of character and hate speech) I never thought would become president, was just sworn in. I feel great hope as a woman who is also the mother of a black son with special needs when I think of all of those beautifully, wonderfully diverse women and men walking side by side today, refusing to take this lying down.

I am, unfortunately, taking it lying down. Not by choice but because the migraines continue and until I see the neurologist on Monday, I don’t have any other options. So today, these images are bringing me such great comfort. Not just from my dear friends in my town here, or my bff Devon marching in NYC, or the women in DC on the front lines, or all the women in my own country, but also the solidarity shown by women who are marching in other parts of the world as well. I’m with them, all of them in my heart. Putting one foot in front of the other in hopes that someday this country will be a place where it’s just as empowering and dignifying to be a woman, a minority, an immigrant, a disabled person, or a person with a different faith/belief system, as it is to be a white man.

some of my favorites from all over the globe today:

Washington D.C.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Women with bright pink hats and signs gather early on Saturday in Washington, D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington.

AARON P. BERNSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES

Barcelona, Spain

David Ramos/Getty Images

Belgrade, Serbia

Activists hold a banner that reads “Women’s March Against Fascism” during the Women’s March rally in Belgrade, Serbia, on Saturday. Darko Vojinovic/AP

Park City, Utah

Protesters at the start of the Women’s March on Main Street in Park City, Utah.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Civil rights activist Dolores Huerta participates in the “Women’s March On Main” during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

London, England

Tim Ireland/AP

Paris, France

Demonstrators gather for a rally at the Place de Trocadero in Paris in solidarity with supporters of the Women’s March in Washington.
Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Berlin, Germany

A woman wearing an American flag as a headscarf attends a protest for women’s rights and freedom in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington in front of Brandenburger Tor in Berlin, Germany. Steffi Loos/Getty Images

I salute all of you, women of the present, women of the future, and women of the past who have sacrificed comfort, family, and even your own lives in order to see that women have a voice. Such great strides have been made, and there’s such a long way to go when it comes to the safety and equality of women. Thank you to all of you today making sure our voices are heard just a bit more.

Ireland . some parting thoughts and images

My nanny, my mom’s mom, passed away a few weeks before Christmas. I bought a last minute ticket to Ireland, packed a small back, and hopped over the ocean to hug my mom, help with arrangements, and pay my respects. Ireland has always been a part of me. It was my mom’s birthplace and home, the little island where her mother lived, the place where her extended family were buried. The first time I set foot on the rocky coast and patchwork quilt hills, a part of me felt at home. It’s hard to describe how or why a certain place can exist within us, as a part of us, when we’ve never been there. Somehow without ever living there, I carried that salt water in my veins, that landscape in my DNA. The text I receive from my mom every time I land reads, “welcome home!”

Flying out over those hills after the funeral, I realized it was the first time in my life I had no real reason to have to return. There was no nanny there waiting for me to come stay, come have a cup of tea and a tray of treats, and tell stories about the boys and how we’re getting on. Even my mom would be coming back to the states soon after all the loose ends were tied up. (She’s currently on an airplane over the ocean flying back to the US.) I feel a certain bittersweetness to it all. I love that rugged Island and the simple way of life in those green hills. I love the memories I’ve made there, the “home” feeling each time I land, and the millions of wild and unique stories my mom has from growing up and living there.

For now, maybe for always, a chapter has ended. The reality of my family’s life in Ireland is ending, and now that existence becomes a memory. I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate and mourn with some images I made from trips to Ireland. These roads and hillsides became dear to me, but none as dear as my precious little Nanny.