Emi believes that activism and advocacy should inform one another, each creating a culture of people who not only lift each other's voices, but also champion the causes of their fellow human beings who cannot enter the same spaces. See below for details of the One Girl Walk, Dreams for Peace, and other global initiatives by Emi Mahmoud.
"Activism allows us to shake inequality from the core, it lets us redefine what matters by lifting the voices of those around us." - Emi Mahmoud
The One Girl Walk is an initiative created to raise awareness for the Dreams for Peace— a movement to inspire a collective responsibility for peace in Sudan and around the world. What started as a question during a family trip in Darfur soon turned into a global initiative to change the conversation around peace in Sudan and quickly drew the interest of thousands. Six civilian peace talks, several hundred Dreams for Peace from more than 20 countries, and several million foot-steps later— Emi and supporters around the world are preparing to change the future of peace as we know it.
Why 1000 Kilometers?
The walkers walked a set distance from Darfur to Khartoum in the interest of including a significant number of regions across Sudan, and to pay homage to the countess miles people have walked toward safety.
Millions of Internally Displaced People, their families, and loved ones are still feeling the effects of the Darfur genocide and continued instability in the region.
Emi saw every step of the walk as a step toward peace and a step toward home.
"As a displaced person, I've always felt the insecurity of home and struggled with the idea of return. But after hearing from countless people during the poetry town halls [Dreams for Peace] that they wanted to find a way home but weren't sure of how to take the first step or how to bring the peace, I thought it would be important to show them that we can take a thousand steps toward home, we can all take the first step together." — Emi Mahmoud Live Interview on the first day of the walk.
How did they do it?
Emi started hosting Poetry Town Halls from October 2017 through December which served as open and safe spaces for people to share their stories and ideas around peace.
The response was overwhelming as poetry paved the way for people to speak on the most difficult of losses and of their highest hopes. Careful planning and persistence allowed Emi to gain permission for these events despite continued resistance at the start resistance.
Then, with the help of the Enough Project, the Lemkin Summit for Peace, Touchline Media, and other media groups, Emi was able to leverage her own platform to create the uncensored spaces required for the One Girl Walk to succeed. In kind sponsorship from Adidas and Dal Group provided crucial gear and water for the duration of the trip. Housing and food was provided by the different communities that hosted the Walk Participants each day.
Emi chose walking as an open call to an inclusive peace and "to heal, to unite, to stand in solidarity with the people who have lost everything and are still willing to fight for the future." — Emi Mahmoud Live Interview on the first day of the Walk.
By the time the walk was finished, requests to join the movement piled in from all different areas of Sudan, and even other countries in the region and around the world. The initiative is in the process of taking the first steps toward implementing some of the dreams for peace and completing the civilian peace talks in the region. They are currently collecting "Dreams for Peace" from around the world to build solidarity.
"If we can walk together, we can work together for a lasting peace." - Emi Mahmoud
One Girl Walk
More footage to be included in the upcoming documentary. Check here for updates.