Update on #GIRLWITHABOOK: Haters Don’t Stand a Chance

I think I’ve been in shock this whole week. I am simply blown away by the support that we have received at #GIRLWITHABOOK. When I wrote my last post, the whole thing still felt like an idea for a high school project. And now it feels like a real movement.

I had promised that I would update everyone on our progress with this movement so here goes. Since we started (which was about 10 days ago), three major things have happened.

1. Organizations have supported us. Some major ones to report are the National Women’s History Museum and Half the Sky Movement. Within the first couple of days, they had posted about us, tweeted about us and sent us pictures. After one particular Facebook post last Saturday from Half the Sky Movement, we got 400 likes on Facebook. All on that same Saturday. And just today, they tweeted a poster that lists 5 ways you can help girls like Malala. Submitting a picture to us is listed as one of the 5 ways.

2. I received an email from a WordPress editor congratulating me on having been picked to be “Freshly Pressed.” I was completely shocked. As you can tell, I have barely written/posted anything on my blog (it’s been a slow start). The editor wrote in the email, “We really enjoyed [your post], and we know the rest of the WordPress.com community will too – this movement is a wonderful idea, and I’m glad we can help spread the word!” I was amazed and frankly, just touched by the support we received from WordPress. Not only was it cool to finally get some comments on my blog, but their promotion of #GIRLWITHABOOK increased our momentum by tenfold.

We reached 1000 likes on Facebook! Of course, now we’re past that đŸ™‚

3. Two days ago, we got an email from the UN. That’s right. The United Nations. I’m pretty sure I had to read that email 3 times before it all sunk in. They congratulated us on our initiative and stated that they would like to join us on our call to action. Since then, they have tweeted about us, sent in pictures, and even blogged about us. In return, we are spreading the word about Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Education First initiative that he launched on September 26, 2012, as well as the work being done by Education Envoy Gordon Brown, especially about this petition.

Just a little over a week ago, neither Olivia nor I would have been able to predict any of this happening. I don’t think I, personally, even had expectations about this getting popular let alone becoming a movement. We started this because Malala inspired us to act, to do something for her and girls like her. For a while though, I started thinking to myself, “This is all gonna die out. People are going to move on and forget about Malala and girls everywhere fighting to learn.” But everything that’s happened this past week proved me wrong. People do care. They’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right and best of all, they’re willing to help each other up and stand together. We’re going to win this fight. Against the Taliban, against extremists, against bullies, against haters. No matter how long it takes, we’re going to win in the end.

On a lighter note, Eid Mubarak everyone! May all my fellow Muslims out there have a lovely and blessed Eid ul-Adha. I’ll be getting some of my little cousins together and taking photos of them holding/reading books. Keep an eye out for the pictures on our Pinterest, Facebook, and tumblr! And all of YOU can do the same! I think Malala and girls all over Pakistan would love to see other families showing their support for them on Eid.

****If you want to join the #GIRLWITHABOOK movement, please submit a picture of yourself with a book to girlwithabookmovement@gmail.com. Make sure to include the title of the book and the city, state, country that you took your picture****

Feel free to post on our Facebook page or tweet at us @_girlwithabook as well. We invite submissions from girls, boys, men and women, because a cause like this needs support from everyone.

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#GIRLWITHABOOK

Last Monday, my friend Olivia and I decided to launch this idea called #GIRLWITHABOOK. At the time we were venting to each other about how horrified and utterly disgusted we were by the Taliban’s sick attempt at killing Malala Yousafzai on her school bus, and we wanted to do something about it. We wanted to do something for Malala, and at the same time stick it to the Taliban. So Olivia says to me “Let’s get people to post pictures of themselves with books! A favorite book, a random book, a school book, you name it. And we’ll post it on facebook, twitter, etc. to show Malala our support.” My reaction: THIS IS AWESOME.

The Taliban showed what they are most afraid: A GIRL WITH A BOOK.

So that’s exactly what we did. We created a Facebook page, Pinterest board, Twitter account and a tumblr. It sounds excessive, but can you blame us? We wanted the whole world to show their support for Malala. And as they say…a picture is worth a thousand words.

The first thing we did was message and email our own friends. Anyone we knew, we told them about our idea. Slowly but surely we started receiving submissions from our friends and family. They took pictures of themselves holding books, reading to people, reading with their pets, or reading together with someone else. They sent them in and we posted them. The number of likes on Facebook increased from 10 to 40 to 120 to 200. We were getting supporters from all over the world, and including other organizations like the National Women’s History Museum. And then something even more amazing happened.

Half the Sky, a book written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, tweeted and posted on their Facebook wall about us. As a result, we got over 400 likes on our Facebook page in a single day. Half the Sky is now also a film, a game, and a movement. All of which are about “raising awareness and inspiring action to turn oppression to opportunity for women worldwide.” The outpouring of support after their post was incredible.

Within a single week, we managed to launch a movement of sorts. It all began with a 15 year old girl named Malala Yousafzai, but now she has come to symbolize the hope that education can bring to both girls and boys. She is the one who inspired and touched everyone’s hearts with her courage. My friend and I simply wanted to find a way to thank her and show her that we stand with her. We stand with Malala, we stand with all boys and girls who are fighting for a chance to learn. Education is everybody’s right, and I truly believe it is our duty to do whatever we can to make sure that everyone gets their chance.

As of today, on Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM, we have 811 supporters on Facebook, about 51 followers on Twitter, 72 followers on Pinterest, and 17 followers on tumblr (our tumblr is fairly new compared to the others). With the help of other people who believe in Malala and what she fights for, we can achieve this. We can stop extremists from taking away our education, our freedom, our rights. In the end, they won’t win. We will.

Here’s some more exciting news. After we receive a significant number of pictures, Olivia and I plan on compiling all of them into a book and sending it to Malala. All of us are praying and wishing for her full recovery, and we thought this would be a great way for us to show just how much she has come to mean to us.

If you want to join the #GIRLWITHABOOK movement, please submit a picture of yourself with a book to girlwithabookmovement@gmail.com. Make sure to include the title of the book and the city, state, country that you took your picture

Feel free to post on our Facebook page or tweet at us @_girlwithabook as well. We invite submissions from girls, boys, men and women, because a cause like this needs support from everyone.

Here are some of my favorite pictures.