On the morning of May 26th, 2009, a roadside bomb in Afghanistan killed twenty-one year old US Air Force Senior Airman Ashton Lynn Marie Goodman. She had been serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Panjshir Province; first, as a vehicles operator and later, on Women’s Affairs. In meeting the women of Panjshir Province, she had been quick to praise their intelligence and courage, and to advocate passionately for their education and increased roles in leadership. Days before her death, she had asked to stay on in Panjshir, as she felt she was making a difference, “with words, not weapons.”
Professor Melissa Pritchard of Arizona State University, an award-winning writer and teacher, met Ashton when she traveled to Panjshir Province as a reporter in January 2009. After Ashton’s death, Pritchard established AWWP’s Ashton Goodman Fund to transform the tragedy of Ashton’s death into an enduring tribute to her brave spirit and an act of hope and support for the women of Afghanistan.
“I believe Ashton would be humbled and delighted to support the goals of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project,” says Pritchard. “These were ideals she also believed in: the power of shared stories and the inherent right of Afghan women to literacy, education, and positions of leadership in society.”
Read more about Ashton’s life in Pritchard’s May 2010 issue of “O”, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, and click below to donate to AWWP to support Afghan women who fight “with words, not weapons.”
photo credit: U.S. Air Force Capt. Stacie N. Shafran