Sarah Harrison, Planned Parenthood Development Coordinator, Chapel Hill, NC
When working with difficult and personal topics, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s natural to get overwhelmed. It’s even important to have moments of being overwhelmed. For me, that can be how I remember I am a human being reacting to stories. I am part of the body of Christ who cares deeply for others and this work is important.
Those feelings can often times be isolating. As always, I can only speak for myself, and what I know is that these injustices and struggles feel hopeless and unfixable. The systems of oppression, which exist globally, build up, up, and up until you are left asking:
What can I do?
Why am I trying?
This is all together, too much.
Coming to the Commission on the Status of Women has reminded me in a visual, intellectual, and spiritual way that I, and we, are not alone in fighting. I can see 4,000 other devoted bodies dedicating their time and invaluable knowledge alongside me. I can hear the words spoken at panels and workshops, validating what I know to be true and teaching me how to do my work better. I can feel from my fellow cohort members that they are in this too. They have their own stories and experiences that have motivated them to spend their precious time here.
This realization is crucial in continuing the work. We need to support each other continually and furiously. In a panel discussion I attended today, I was reminded by the wonderful Diane Rosenfeld of Harvard University that “women’s alliance is the cornerstone to fighting men’s violence and that we don’t have to like each other, but we have to recognize we are stronger together.” Creating alliance and community with your networks, whether that is globally at the CSW or with your friends and family at home, the change we seek is possible when unity is a priority.