my dear daughters,
today, the world is your oyster. the world which you woke up to this morning is one with infinitely more opportunities and freedoms and rights than ever before enjoyed by any other generation of women.
the world is your oyster, an oyster which other women with sword and voice and sacrifice have opened. they were women bold enough, strong enough, and crazy enough to envision a better world for the girls in their lives than the one they themselves could claim.
your oyster is your world. you live in a microcosm where, for the most part, you are safe and protected. you are surrounded by family and friends, institutions of government and guardians that will fight to ensure that you have permission and authority to make of your life whatever you will. you have options, you have education, you have rights - you have the world in your hands.
the world is not always just the same as your oyster. there is injustice and inequality, atrocities done every day to and against girls who are not protected by the same love and laws and liberties that you and I enjoy today.
let that world enter your oyster today. listen to the cry of malala in pakistan who advocated for the education of girls, at great cost to herself. open your eyes to the pain that mayanti bears in india as her entire family urges her to kill her newly born twin daughters because there, girls are nothing more than a burden and therefore disposable. remember our dear friend in vietnam who told us of her young charge whose beauty could only serve to imprison her as a slave for the vices of wicked men? let their stories and their lives get inside of yours. let your voices become one as you bear testimony to the girls of the world who do not yet live inside the safety of an oyster such as yours.
open wide your oyster to the world. let the truth invade your cocoon of sanctuary and shelter. educate yourselves on the girls of this world. ruminate on the realities of your fellow sisters and let it disturb and frustrate and agitate you to action. be ones bold enough, strong enough, selfless enough, and yes, crazy enough to believe that you can change their worlds.
let your arms be an oyster of protection to the girls of your world. provide others a place of refuge when you can. spend your time and resources and energies to ensure that others can come under the same shelter of your privilege and opportunity.
let your voice be the irritant that won't let others of this world shrink back within the relative safety of their own microcosms. open their eyes, open their ears with your example of sacrifice and dedication to the cause of emancipation and equality of all girls everywhere.
let your life bear witness to the beauty and strength and fearlessness of girls born in the oyster that is our world. in your dress, in your pursuits, in your spending, in your pleasures, let it be known that you are a girl of the world, for the world, with the world.
alone in your oyster, you are safe and free and able.
but if, my precious girls, you will allow their worlds to enter yours, and as you do so, raise such a ruckus that others begin to take notice and join your chorus of freedom and justice for all girls, you will have become a generation that is not afraid of what is unseemly and that won't shrink back in self-preservation.
and as you live and labor, girls upon girls will come together over what once were only the grave and shocking realities in the lives of malala and mayanti and millions more just like them. and underneath your layers of love and service and advocacy, these girls will be healed and delivered and empowered and from their pasts of darkness, burst forth as, no longer so rare, precious and beautiful.
and you will have become the mothers of pearls.
the world is your oyster. what will you make of it?