CODEPINK leaders Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans and Ann Wright will join 30 international women for a historic walk across the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea to call for an end to the Korean War. The trip, from May 19-26, will include peace symposiums with women's groups on both sides of the border, and the group will cross the DMZ on May 24, International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament.
The 30 women involved in Women Cross the DMZ include peace activists, writers, professors, lawyers, gender equality advocates, former diplomats, UN representatives, and humanitarians. It includes legendary US women's rights advocate Gloria Steinem, and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee, known for ending civil conflicts in Northern Ireland and Liberia respectively.
The goal of the DMZ Crossing is to draw global attention to the urgent need to end the Korean War by replacing the 62-year-old ceasefire with a peace treaty, to end the hostilities in the region and help reunite families separated by division.
This will be only the third time in the 70 years since the division of the Koreas that an international group has crossed this border.
"Women have historically been influential in ending seemingly intractable conflicts. Women were key to facilitating the peace process after decades of fighting in Northern Ireland. Women brought the warring parties of the Second Liberian Civil War to the negotiating table, ending years of bloodshed Liberia," said CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans of Los Angeles, California. "And now, women are putting a global spotlight on Korea."
"After decades of pain and conflict between North and South Korea, our brave band of women is forging a path we hope others will follow," said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin of Washington DC. "If President Obama would add Korea to his administration's ongoing diplomatic initiatives alongside Iran and Cuba, an 'axis of diplomacy' could become his most lasting legacy."
Approximately 7,000 North Korean women are scheduled to walk in solidarity with the international women in Pyongyang and Kaesong, and over 2,000 South Korean women have signed up to welcome and walk with the international delegation in Paju on the South Korean side of Panmunjom.
"Thousands of women have been preparing for this event across every province in South Korea," says Dr. Vana Kim, one of the lead organizers. "Korean women are anxious to embrace and walk with the international women who have reinvigorated their hopes and dreams for a brighter future for Korea without division and war."
The women's peace walk has garnered wide international support, including endorsements from U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, co-founder of Twitter Evan Williams, actor Robert Redford, and physician Deepak Chopra.
Evan, Benjamin and Wright are available for interviews.