What does it mean to be part of Cohort 2 of the Move to End Violence program? I’m not exactly sure yet, but I’m excited to find out.
Two weeks ago Cohort One of Move to End Violence brought together over a hundred leaders in the movement to end violence against girls and women. In Tarrytown, New York, over two days, these leaders left behind the stresses of their daily work to discuss the root causes of gender-based violence; the intersection of gender, race, and other forms of discrimination; whether we can, as a movement, align around a common vision; and three actions points – or pivots – that will help us to more effectively move together toward an end to violence. Though the true diversity of perspectives could have crippled the conversations, it instead enriched them, and deepened the value of the alignment around common goals that seemed to emerge. The week with Move to End Violence was inspiring and empowering, and left me feeling less alone as an activist fighting endless uphill battles, and more engaged as part of a living, breathing social change movement.
The week after, as I listened to the dozens of voicemails and sifted through the hundreds of emails that accumulated while I was away, I started to settle back into the realities of my daily work. My clients were still facing poverty, homelessness, racism, deportation, international child abduction, trauma, chronic stress from single-parenting, community pressure, female genital mutilation, and everything else they must battle as women and girls in this society. But I started feeling a change coming over me, a sense of optimism that I don’t think I had a few weeks before. I had a renewed hope that with the support of Move to End Violence and the leaders in this movement I would be able to make a real difference in the way our communities view and treat women and girls.
Maybe this is what it means to be part of Cohort 2: to allow this fire to ignite once again, and to feed it with the powerful knowledge that this incredible field of bright, engaged, committed, passionate, and effective advocates is right beside me. I can’t wait to dive in.
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