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'Outraged and sad': Tucsonan shaves her head to support teen activist

Anne Longton Spacone

'Outraged and sad': Tucsonan shaves her head to support teen activist

CREATED Nov 4, 2012

Reporter: Kevin Keen 

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - She was so moved by a courageous teenager who's nearly 8,000 miles away, she wanted to make a statement. So, in solidarity, Anne Longton Spacone cut off all of her hair. The Tucsonan sat down with 9 On Your Side to explain her reasoning and her message.
 
Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai is the one who inspired Spacone. Yousafzai is Pakistani and an outspoken advocate for girls' education. In October, she was shot -- targeted by the Taliban for her support of equality. Yousafzai survived, but the attack sent emotional shockwaves around the world.
 
“I just felt outraged and sad,” Spacone said. “Like a living saint, I found her story -- I just found her courage very inspiring.”
 
Upset over the violence and inspired by Yousafzai’s perseverance, the stay-at-home mother turned to a practice from Kenya of shaving your head to show grief and mourning.
 
9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen asked Spacone, “As it was happening, what was going through your mind?”
 
“I felt a real peace come through me,” she answered.
 
A new inner peace, as her once long, curly hair vanished. But in its absence, a constant reminder.
 
Keen asked Spacone, “What about what she stands for do you also stand for?”
 
“I definitely stand for education,” she said. “I definitely stand for the rights of women and girls.”
 
Spacone didn't intend to raise awareness, but it's happened.
 
Spacone’s husband, Mike, said, “It's inspired us to understand more about Malala, what has happened to her and what she's up against in trying to accomplish what she wants to accomplish in her country.”
 
“I think that I've come to appreciate my education a lot more than I did before,” said Fiona Fennie, Spacone’s 13-year-old niece. “Now it's very apparent that some people don't have it.”
 
“Hopefully, she finds a world that is changed by her courage and her story,” Spacone said.
 
Keen asked, “Do you think that will happen?”
 
“I hope it happens,” she answered. “I hope it happens in her lifetime. I hope it happens soon.”
 
Yousafzai is recovering in a hospital in the United Kingdom. World leaders -- including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- have also voiced their support of the teen activist.