Last week was a moment to swim in the depths of a sea of complexities, to touch base and regroup with our colleagues around the world, and to remember that we know how to reach our hands across seemingly unbridgable divides to transform communities from the inside out. And we won’t stop. And we will do it better.
On Democracy Now! Bill McKibbon said, “It’s a difficult moment, but there are real lessons to be taken from it. People who tell stories and engage with the public are the people who are going to be successful — whether they are good or bad.” Let’s not be overwhelmed by engaging with “the public”. Let’s recognize that “the public” is all of us. It’s the people we saw at the grocery store this morning, it’s the parents we smiled at when we dropped off our children at school, it’s our families in other states, and “the public” is our old friends on Facebook.
The majority of people do believe in racial and social equality, in celebrating rather than fearing our differences, and in the leadership of women, people of color, those who are born in this country, and those who have come and enriched it. And it’s time for us to increase our conversations around these deeply personal issues — to really, truly see and hear one another, and to understand that that’s where healing begins. The rallying cry of the feminist movement “the personal is political” still rings true. When we share our stories, when we recognize that we are “the public”, and that what happens to some of us happens to all of us — we transform. And from a transformed place — we act. That is how we do better.
Last week, we felt, we absorbed, we struggled to find our footing in this changing global community, and now we anchor.
We remember that whether it’s supporting grassroots women as they reach ever-higher in local and national leadership roles, investing in the leadership of young Indigenous land defenders standing on the frontlines against a life-threatening pipeline project, or working to preserve traditional knowledge in the face of destructive industrialized agriculture — lasting change happens one loving conversation at a time. Difficult and compassionate conversations between trusted people create incremental change. Like WEA’s Project Leads around the world, each of us can be a trusted leader, holding space for these conversations and encouraging any and all to gather together and listen.
Even in difficult times, we are uplifted because we are together. So, for women and girls everywhere, for activists and allies fighting for what’s just, for Indigenous land and sovereignty defenders, for those whose safety from state violence or whose right to love who you love is under threat, for our future — we are here, with open ears and hearts.
The WEA Team
“The future ones are grateful for us, and the ancestors can take our hands now and help us over this hard time.” -Joanna Macy, WEA Advisor