To be honest, I’m not really sure where to start. My mind is still reeling from the hours upon hours of panel discussions, forum meetings, cohort processing time, and the newness of being surrounded by the high profile dialogue that occurs on an international scale at the United Nations. I knew it was going to be an intense week before I arrived, but I’m not sure I really understood HOW intense. Try to picture this:
Thousands of women (and some male allies) gathered in NYC for a 2 week conference on the Status of Women. Each woman is carrying her own story of the injustices she or someone she knows has faced as a result of being born a woman. Each woman is carrying hopes and dreams for the world she wants to see and is holding an agenda for how she will share that information with the policy makers and high profile delegates of the UN. Every day, and ALL day, she sits as a witness to panel discussion after panel discussion focusing on any number of topics (maternal health, violence against women, women and education, women’s spirituality, women in government, women as peacemakers, etc) which all have one thing in common…..how will we move forward and create gender equality and continued development within our world. The presentations are beautiful, intense, frustrating, inspiring, and dismal all at the same time. But still, each woman (and male ally) sits and listens intently trying to absorb as much of the information as possible. If there was one thing that all these women from different parts of the world, and our male allies present (including two from our own ELCA cohort), had in common, it was this….we all want to be torch bearers to create change for our world. We all are seekers of justice and hungry to make this world a better place….for ALL God’s creation. We may have different ways of going about that or different ideas of what ‘human rights’ looks like, but I can promise you this, we were all here to learn how we can make a difference in our world….both locally and globally.