Californian Zontians advocate to end child marriage
Realizing that child marriages are still happening in California, the Zontians Beth Heiserman and Ela Pandya joined a "chained-in" event at their state capitol to urge their state to outlaw child brides finally.
The supporters, dressed in bridal gowns and veils, chained their wrists, and some taped their mouths shut. Many shared their personal stories, which stirred raw emotions in them.
Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, representing the 73rd district in Orange County, joined the protesters and spoke about why we should end child marriage in California. She believes that no child should be forced to do something they should not consent to and that everyone must protect their girls so they can reach their full potential.
Ela also gave a memorable speech, shared her thoughts on why California needs to end child marriage, and urged lawmakers to change the law to 18 no exceptions in California.
Sara Tasneem, a child marriage survivor and a Coalition to End Child Marriages member, gave a very moving and emotional speech. She spoke about how she was taken at 15 years old, impregnated by a 28-year-old man, and then married off to him at 16 in Nevada. She talked about how no one seemed to care that she was a child having a child.
Michele Hanash from the AHA Foundation and Fraidy Reiss of Unchained At Last also spoke to ending child marriage in California and the remaining states in America that have yet to do so.
At the end of the demonstration, the women chanted a poem, "The Girls You Have Destroyed," written by Unchained, to a tune that rhymed with the "Star Spangled Banner."
After the protest and Press Conference, Beth and Ela walked around the Capitol Building and created awareness of child marriage with the California flag under the dome. Many people were unaware that it was legal in California.
Beth and Ela are members of the Zonta Club of Porterville, USA, and are promoting the now forming Zonta Club of West Los Angeles.
Visit their YouTube channel to see more about their protest.