Rev. Claudia Bandixen is the recently retired director of Mission 21, an international mission organisation headquartered in Basel.
Q: How do you believe Thursdays in Black ties into dignity for every human being?
Rev. Bandixen: I have seen that God has given us a gift of life. We have to share it. We have to respect it. We have to do everything that every human being - maybe even every creature - can do to fulfill its destiny.
Q: What did it mean to you when you discovered Thursdays in Black?
Rev. Bandixen: It means we have a lot of people with the same vision, with the same experience. Before Thursdays in Black, you had more people who don’t want to see reality, people who would look away, who would say, “No, we don’t have a problem.” They would not mention it.
But Thursdays in Black is talking about it. It’s giving examples. It’s showing the way out of life with indignity. It shows how to be a human being, whether you are a man or a woman.
Thursdays in Back is not only against violence but against those times people say: "She will not be a leader. She’s not strong enough. She cannot.” Thursdays in Black is not only against violence but it’s in favor of standing up.
For example, I wanted my church to work to do something about human trafficking, and I have seen it. Pastors told me: Is there something like this in my church or in my region? I have known that, yes of course there is! I have worked many times, over many years, in South America. I have seen slums, how hard the lives of women can be. Someone came up with the idea to start Thursdays in Black, and it was really for me a vision. I don’t have to do it alone.
Q: Does Thursdays in Black help us start conversations that open people’s minds?
Rev. Bandixen: Thursdays in Black helps us talk about all those subjects we don’t want to see or hear about. They talk about it and re-talk about it. My hope is it will infect everybody with the love of life, with the love of dignity. Go in black as long as you know one woman who reaches suffering or violence. Talk about it. Please, talk about it. And help her.
Q: What’s next for you?
Rev. Bandixen: My personal project is to travel around the world. And wherever I go to churches I can talk about it. That’s one possibility. And I know the team in Mission 21 will go on and will look to have a lot photos, of experiences to share with the World Council of Churches. Whether you are retiring or you are new or even if you’re before your career, together we can go on in this subject.
My hope is that women will have their own voice and their destiny and stand for themselves. My hope is so many more girls and women will have the possibility to develop their own visions And of course, no violence, no killing of women and girls!
To learn more about Thursdays in Black ambassadors, please contact email@example.com.
“Ambassadors” lead Thursdays in Black Solidarity (WCC Press release of 5 September 2019)