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How A Picture of Child Marriage Imparted Action

This is a community post, untouched by our editors.

Picture this… a community of children playing in the streets on a warm summer day jumping through sprinklers and chasing one another. Parents sitting on the front steps with the aroma of dinner being prepared in the kitchen or maybe a barbecue across the back lane. Each child knowing that it is “customary” for them to have many years ahead of joy, playfulness, school, hopes and dreams. A warm fuzzy vision not found in the above image, is it? (No “Daisy” moments here.)

Growing up we believed our parents only wanted the very best for us. They protected us, supported our dreams, and allowed us to be children. In many situations I was shielded by what other children endured in other parts of the world until an art exhibit in Montreal touched upon my soul.

“Too Young To Wed” is a profoundly moving world exhibit. Created by photographer Stephanie Sinclair and with video by Jessica Dimmock, the show highlights the personal narratives of girls from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Yemen.”

It reached deep within my head and bruised my heart a bit when I began to read and look at the pictures and video. It is just unfathomable to ever conceive that a child, boy or girl for that matter, would ever be a commodity for trade or tool to exploit. Never.

Related: This 11 Year Old Yemeni Girl Will Kill Herself Before Being Forced Into An Arranged Marriage

There is a cruelty in the world where children become wives while still clutching onto their toys. Some are as young as five years young and their husbands are in their forties or fifties. Shivers creep up and down my spine and I utter words of harshness as I gaze upon their images. The choices within these communities baffle me. The customs and accepted actions make me question far beyond this article. However, one must have a beginning point in order to achieve an end goal.

In 2011, National Geographic made a remarkable video (below). Looking at the various angles of the story has only made me question deeper but then that is the remarkable journey I’m sure they intended. How can one not look at our own societies, communities, relationships, current events and not see glimpses of character rubs. Awkwardness and uncomfortable cringes propel many of us to demand change.

But what can be done from here? …I can sit and weep or write and activate.

I choose activism with education. Take the time to look upon this exhibit and start conversations with others. By speaking up we all create change.

I am grateful that I was empowered with choices, as many of us have had and continue to have. Embrace your voice because by doing so you create a wealth of opportunity to create something greater than yourself.

Ways To Create Change

Cheers everyone. Be grateful we have the ability to even read, share, talk and make choices in our lives.