The President’s Column–Winter 2018

Arlene Johnson, President, International Women's Convocation

Arlene Johnson

We are pleased to announce that the International Women’s Convocation (IWC) received a $13,000 grant recently from the UU Funding Panel that will help us plan with the UU Women’s Federation and UU Women & Religion on how we might best work together going forward.  Even though we have different herstories and missions, we do have some common goals.  During our Third Convocation in California, February 2017, approximately 250 participants made it clear what their priorities were within the five streams (Economic Opportunity, Education, Health and Reproductive Justice, Leadership Development, and Violence Prevention), and where they thought UU women should focus their energies. This prompted us to explore how we might collaborate with other UU women’s organizations in USA. Currently, we are holding monthly conference calls and making plans to hold a weekend meeting in Boston with organizational leaders this fall.  We have invited Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, UUA President to attend.

I am happy to announce that our workshop proposal was accepted for General Assembly in Kansas City this June.  The title is #Me Too: Called to Challenge Systemic Patriarchy.  It will be held Saturday, June 23, 1:30 – 4:00 pm.  If you are planning to come to GA, please put this important workshop on your calendar.  Some of the goals are to recognize the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in all societies and the need to confront physical, sexual, economic bullying and abuse in systems of patriarchal authority; and, to support the victims of abuse.  After a panel discussion, we will break into small discussion groups to develop positive steps for moving forward.

March 8th is International Women’s Day.  We recommend that you and your congregation celebrate your international UU sisters and their work on behalf of women.  We are particularly proud of the great collaboration between Transylvanian women and the women of North East India (read about this inspiring story of cross-cultural connection on page 3 of the newsletter). We encourage congregations to share a plate collection with IWC during March or May to support our projects to improve women’s lives around the world.  We are also asking individuals to consider contributing to our crowd funding campaign that will benefit women in the Philippines and Bolivia (see page 2 of the newsletter).

Earlier this month, the International Council of Unitarian Universalists (ICUU) held its conference in Nepal and we were delighted that several of our IWC leaders attended and represented IWC.  Thank you to board members Phyllis Marsh (US) and Elgiva Shullai (India), former board members Creamlimon Nongbri (India) and Sharon Van Duizend (US), our Global Sisters Council member Dr. Rica Lamar (India) and stalwart networker and supporter Julie Steinbach (US).  Please see Sharon’s article on her time in Nepal (page 9 of the newsletter).

The IWC board and staff are now wrapping up a strategic planning process, expected to be completed by spring. We look forward to sharing the results of our strategic planning as we shape the road ahead for this organization.  Thank you for your generous support and your willingness to speak out on behalf of women!

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