Seven Women, One Movement toward Justice


Photo Courtesy ‘Seven’

In the darkened chapel, a light illuminates seven women, each poised behind a drum of her own.  A single drum starts in with a steady, deep beat. One by one, the djembes join, intensifying and accumulating in time. You can feel the vibrations in the soles of your shoes — the beats resonate in your chest, literally reverberating in your heart. Just as the beats of the seven drums accumulate and intensify, so does the strength of character and determination of the seven women represented in the documentary play “SEVEN.” These performers portray seven women from different backgrounds who attempt to change the rhythm of their societies in order to create more just circumstances for the women in their communities.

The play, which was performed by a cast of Calvin students this past weekend for the Faith and International Development Conference, is about the lives and communities of seven women from around the world: Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Cambodia.

As a member of the audience, I was deeply moved by the stories of each of the women. As a middle-class, educated woman living in America, I sometimes forget the dire circumstances inundating the lives of my sisters across the globe. The stories of the women in “SEVEN” were sharp, sometimes painful, reminders that there is much work yet to be done in fighting for the rights of women around the world. The women of “SEVEN” and the women they were fighting for were victims of loss of personhood, violation, abuse and injustice. The pain of these women was incredibly palpable throughout the production, but so was their joy, inspiration and urge to action. If anything, their stories inspire hope and power in those who are willing to fight for justice for others who have been stripped of their humanity.

Emily Wetzel, the student director of the production, found the process ultimately to be inspiring: “If you were to ask me to describe this play in one word, it would be ‘light.’ For the light that shines through the narratives and the faces of seven powerful women is a light that is lasting, and it is a light that glows pure and true and strong.”