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'we cannot stand by'

Sheryl Sandberg, Kate Winslet, and others sign open letter to Biden administration: 'Do not abandon Afghan women and girls'

A large group of women's rights and gender equality advocates, policy experts, celebrities, and NGO leaders signed an open letter Friday titled Do Not Abandon Afghan Women and Girls, calling on the Biden administration to "act immediately to protect and support Afghan women," Axios reports per a Vital Voices press release.

Among the letter's many signatories are 2020 inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, actress Kate Winslet, former 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.

In the face of the "mounting crisis" in Afghanistan, the letter, organized by NGOs Vital Voices and Women for Women International, requests the White House "immediately" take four "concrete steps" to help Afghan women most at risk: provide evacuation flights for women "under imminent threat," expand special immigrant visa coverage to include at-risk women, allocate resources for "livelihood assistance and resettlement," and "protect and invest" in those women still in Afghanistan, per the press release. Those most at risk include women's rights activists, journalists, educators, and human rights defenders, among others.

"We cannot stand by and watch as a humanitarian tragedy unfolds in real time," the group writes. "There are moments in history when we will be judged by whether or not we did the right thing. This is one of those moments." Read more at Axios and Vital Voices.