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America Ferrera: 'We are under attack'

updated 9:31 AM EDT, Mon June 17, 2013
To be born a girl in Afghanistan is often to be ushered into a life of servitude, where girls have very little worth and very dim futures. Amina is forced to marry at 12, to bear a child though still a child herself -- while her own brother is given her dowry money to buy a used car. But Amina, whose name was changed and story portrayed by an actress out of concern for her safety, has had enough, and she is fighting back. <!-- -->
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</br>CNN Films' "Girl Rising" tells the stories of Amina and other girls from around the world and how the power of education can change the world. Learn more about the girls' inspiring stories.<!-- -->
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</br><i>(From 10x10)</i>
To be born a girl in Afghanistan is often to be ushered into a life of servitude, where girls have very little worth and very dim futures. Amina is forced to marry at 12, to bear a child though still a child herself -- while her own brother is given her dowry money to buy a used car. But Amina, whose name was changed and story portrayed by an actress out of concern for her safety, has had enough, and she is fighting back.

CNN Films' "Girl Rising" tells the stories of Amina and other girls from around the world and how the power of education can change the world. Learn more about the girls' inspiring stories.

(From 10x10)
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Actress America Ferrera writes an open letter to girls of the world

Editor's note: Emmy Award-winning actress America Ferrera starred in TV's "Ugly Betty" and is a voice in the animated series "Dragons: Riders of Berk." This open letter to the girls of the world is part of the "Girl Rising" project. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world.

(CNN) -- Dear Girls of the World,

We are under attack. We are denied education. We are bought and sold like cattle. We are threatened and killed for voicing our dreams.

America Ferrera
America Ferrera

We are all suffering.

When one girl in the world suffers for being born female, every girl in the world is made vulnerable. Gender-based hate in the most remote corner of the Earth threatens the very core of our dignity. How can any of us be free while our sisters are slaves in this very instant?

To turn a blind eye to a single girl living in sub-human status is to accept that status for each and every one of us.

If the girls of the world stay silent, we will protect hate. Only our collective voice can carry our stories far and wide enough to drive out the oppression of girls everywhere. Until the day we all have the opportunity to speak up for ourselves, we have to bear witness for one another.

CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world. CNN Films' "Girl Rising" documents extraordinary girls and the power of education to change the world.
The benefits of girls' education
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What happens when you educate a girl? What happens when you educate a girl?
Girl Rising, coming June 16 at 9P ET

Lift your voice for those who can't! Write an open letter about what girls' education means to you.

- America Ferrera

More: CNN's "Girl Rising"

Open letter from Christiane Amanpour: It's time to power the world

Open letter from Queen Rania of Jordan: More than tiaras and cupcakes

Photos: The girls' stories from "Girl Rising"

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