The Boston Women’s Fund team has spent the last week and a half heartbroken over the violence in Israel and Gaza. It is difficult to fathom the number of mothers searching for or mourning their missing children. It is difficult to hold the number of lives lost and families whose worlds have been forever changed.
We know that in times of war, women, girls, and gender-expansive individuals suffer disproportionately because existing inequalities are severely amplified, and the impacts of gender-based violence and lack of access to reproductive and general healthcare are life-altering. We know this is especially true for women who are among the LGBTQIA+ or disabled communities. We also know that here at home, violent threats against Muslim and Jewish people in the U.S. are escalating as well.
Violence distorts the core of what connects us all — our humanity. We cannot stand silent amid acts of terror against Israelis. And we cannot ignore the oppression and violence of the continued occupation of Palestine. There is no playbook for how to process a time like this. But one thing I hold on to is the meaning of the word philanthropy, “the love of mankind.” Though our hearts grow heavier each day, we continue to keep our eyes open. We have a responsibility to bear witness to the atrocities that terrorism and war cause. We have a responsibility to the most vulnerable people in Gaza and Israel.
We will not look away from the pain of the women and children begging for peace, water, food, shelter, and safety. We will not look away from those mourning the sudden and violent losses of their children and elders.
We will, however, continue to educate ourselves. We will provide a safe space for others to process the fear and devastation of these events. Please stand by for details on ways we can be in community with each other. We will also work with you to support those who are impacted. You can reach out to me directly at email@example.com.
We hope that you and your loved ones are safe, and we are sending all of our energy and prayers out in deep hope of peace.
Natanja Craig Oquendo
Executive Director, Boston Women’s Fund