THIS WEEK’S LFC
Women Bringing Hope
By Gloria Lowe
November 26, December 5, 2011
As we approach the holiday season, women will be hard at work making this a festive time for our families. We will also be reflecting on and rejoicing at the many opportunities we had in 2011 to organize and respirit our communities.
Our East Side Peoples’ Festival in Detroit was chaired by two women, Carmen Rembert of RECI (Riverside East Congregational Initiative) and myself . Carmen has also taken the lead in developing the East Side Community Resource Fair, building relationships with churches, businesses, and agencies to share assets and resources to communities in hardship.
We undertook the Festival as a way for residents to embrace each other in love and hope that we can create new relationships to restore peace and community to our neighborhoods.
Saturday June 11 several hundred eastsiders gathered on the Genesis Hope lawn.
We heard from neighborhood activists, sang, ate hot dogs,and homemade ice cream and talked with our neighbors about ‘growing our food,” ‘growing our souls’ and ‘growing our community, ’ The little children played hard because they felt safe and protected and teenagers pitched in to help build the ramp and pick up trash.
Together we put the ‘neighbor’ back in the hood . We pledged to hold on to the spirit revealed that day. And we moved on…..
The next step was to strengthen the community by addressing growing joblessness . So we began planning our October 28-30 Re-Imagining Work Gathering to distinguish between Jobs that are done for pay and Work that we do to feed our souls and not only our pocketbooks.
Diane Reeder headed the committee that organized this gathering, Women were the overwhelming majority at every planning meeting.
On Friday night, Oct 28 , the multigenerational gathering of more than 300 people began with a sacred ceremony, led by Native American women, to ensure that our spirits would be open to listening and sharing with each other.
The Friday evening program closed with drumming by everyone in the room, led by musician/healer Lori Filthian. It was a moment of play and empowerment, a way to take time off from work to restore our souls.
Over the next two days we listened intently to one another. We were encouraged by the provocative words of women, their work, struggles, and the imaginative means women create to overcome victimization by becoming warriors.
We heard from ecofeminist, Vandana Shiva who described her work with traditionally disenfranchised women of India, salvaging a food economy by establishing a seed bank, saving seeds for future generations of growers and saving their men from suicide.
University of Maryland Professor Gar Alperovitz expanded our imaginations by telling us about the worker-owned cooperatives that Cleveland residents have organized to service public institutions like universities and hospitals.
Olga Bonfiglio’s very informative account of the gathering was published on Huffington Post & Common Dreams http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/10/
Women all over the planet are heeding the call to re-awaken, reunite and nurture humanity back to health (balance) and we are succeeding. But WE must remain resilient, healthy and rightminded.
What are the next steps? They are whatever Steps we must take to fulfill our role, to rise to the occasion and to begin re-imagining Everything, For we are the women of The Next American Revolution.