BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KERO) — Women all over the world are fighting for their rights and with the withdrawl of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 20 years, many feel the Taliban will reimpose harsh laws against women.
Jazz Cannon is an Afghan-American woman who spent years fighting for her rights and now have the power to help other women living in crisis.
“It took me a while to understand the culture and how i can be integrated into the western society as an upstanding citizen," Cannon said.
She risked her life to escape Afghanistan with her family in the 1990s. She eventually made it here to the United States and became a U.S. citizen, but had to adjust to freedoms she's never had before.
“You wake up in the morning and decide hey i just want to live in another state and you get a different job or maybe a better paid job and you decide to just pack up your stuff and just make the move is as simple as that," Cannon said.
She now works to support women who are fleeing the country.
“We need to address their mental concerns, their health concerns, their financial concerns," Cannon said.
After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. started the War on Terror as revenge, but made it a point to also fight for Afghan women's rights. On November 17, 2001, the First Lady Laura Busch delivered a radio address acknowledging the oppression of women in the middle east.
"The fight against terrorism is also a fight for the rights and dignity of women.”
"Life under the Taliban is so hard and repressive, even small displays of joy are outlawed. Children aren't allowed to fly kites. Their mothers face beatings for laughing out loud. Women cannot work outside the home or even leave their homes by themselves, " Busch said.
Not only did the United States military presence lead to the fall of the Taliban, it also allowed women to gain back some of their personal freedoms. However, this year, the U.S. withdrew from the 20 year war in Afghanistan and women continue to struggle.
“I have the freedom to choose, my cousin does not. I have the freedom to walk outside without an escort, my cousin does not. I have the freedom to vote, to buy, to sell, to make a decision on my own, my cousin does not," Cannon said.
Jazz is hoping to raise awareness across California.
"Become an advocate, fundraise, spread the word become an expert in women’s rights and raise awareness and that’s what I'm doing."