March 8, International Women’s Day, began a week celebrating women. A local church group, anticipating the day, decided that the full 2020 year would be a good time to demonstrate women’s strength. How better to do that than to show the community the power of committed women?
They organized under the banner #400womenstrong. Since there were nowhere near 400 in their group, the first task was to recruit others. To join, one did not have to be a member of their faith or of any faith. All one needed was two X chromosomes and a desire to serve.
They reasoned it’s a good time for this effort. We’ve had so much divisiveness lately. Families and friends have split over political differences or social positions. Now, with the threat of coronavirus, some folks are even fearful to be around others.
Yet we’ve also had beautiful examples of our common humanity. During the Camp Fire that destroyed the neighboring town of Paradise, one woman drove her pickup alongside the road, shouting “Get in!” to anyone on foot. She didn’t ask how they’d voted in the last election. She simply saved desperate people from the flames.
Why can’t we reach out to serve one another when we aren’t facing a calamity? This group believes we can. One small sub-group is making tiny beanies for infants born prematurely at our local hospital. Another group is creating knit or crochet scarves to hand out at homeless shelters next winter.
One woman is photographing headstones in local cemeteries and uploading them to the BillionGraves website. Her efforts will help people who are seeking their ancestors. Another bakes holiday treats for the men in a shelter for homeless veterans. All are logging their time with a goal to reach 20,000 hours of community service this year. They logged 1800 hours in the first two months, a good start.
My challenge today is to encourage any who read this blog to organize in your own communities. Odds are you are already doing helpful things for others around you. As you gather with like-minded people and organize, you too can show the world what women (and men) can do and, in the process, help to rebuild the links that connect us to one another. It’s a great way to celebrate women…and all humankind.