March 20

Women peacemakers born today

  • 1872 Karin Michaëlis born Randers, Jutland, Denmark (d. 1950). “The Conscience of Europe.” Prominent Danish writer; radical feminist; pacifist. Worked in famine relief, Austria, World War I.

  • 1915 Marie Runyon born Brevard, SC. Former New York state assemblyperson. As member of Granny Peace Brigade, arrested 20 times, including an attempt to enlist in protest of Iraq War, Times Square; acquitted, 2005.

  • 1920 Andree Chedid born Cairo, Egypt. Lebanese-Egyptian poet and writer. Condemned the futility of war in her novel House without Roots.

  • 1920 Pamela Churchill Harriman born Farnborough, England (d. 1997). First female American ambassador to France, 1993; first woman diplomat to receive Legion of Honor.

  • 1936 Evelyn Fox Keller born New York, NY. MIT physicist; historian. Promoted Israeli evacuation of West Bank.

  • 1937 Rosemarie Jackowski born Luzerne, PA. Advocacy journalist and teacher. As one of the “Bennington Twelve,” arrested for peaceful Iraq War protest, Bennington, VT, 2003; conviction overturned by state supreme court.

  • 1956 Catherine Ashton born Upholland, Lancashire, England. British diplomat. Active leader in Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), 1977-83. As Leader of the House of Lords, gathered approval of Treaty of Lisbon, 2007.

  • 1964 Natacha Atlas born Schaerbeek, Brussels, Belgium. Singer of Jewish/Muslim heritage. UN Goodwill Ambassador, 2001. Boycotted Israeli apartheid, 2011.

  • 1985 Polina Zherebtsova born Grozny, Chechnya, USSR. Russian-Chechen diarist who chronicled the terror of three wars, including her wounding at age 14. Reported on war crimes; exiled, 2012.

Women's peacemaking on this day

  • 1918 Rose Pastor Stokes's letter to the editor of the Kansas City Star criticizing US involvement in World War I resulted in her receiving ten-year prison term.

  • 1919 In Cairo, Huda Sha’arawi led a major women’s demonstration.

  • 2001 Susan B. Rodriguez sentenced to one year imprisonment for destroying computers used for nuclear war simulations.

  • 2001 Caoimhe Butterly began 10-day hunger strike at Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to protest the decision allowing Afghanistan-bound American airplanes to refuel at Shannon Airport.

  • 2003 Multiple protests against the invasion of Iraq. Lillian Willoughby was jailed one week for blocking Philadelphia courthouse. Rosemarie Jackowski was arrested for blocking an intersection in Bennington, VT. Three Code Pink members were arrested at a Senate office building.

  • 2014 Led by a woman in bloodstained gown, 300 women marched from Maputo to the Mozambique parliament in protest of a colonial law legalizing marriage between accused rapists and their victims.