Colossians 4:4-6 Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
In solidarity with other women, three women from Enon United Methodist Church (Anjanette Macon, Shun Robinson, and Deaconess Minnie Wright) traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to participate in a Women’s Conference: The State of Women of Color in the United States. The conference was held at the Wesley Foundation on the campus of Tennessee State University.
Under the leadership of Elder Michele Morton and an array of spirit-filled Wesleyan young adult facilitators/leaders, the conference was grounded on facts gleamed from The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.
Excerpts from the report are as follows:
Women of color will comprise the majority of all women in the future, and we face unique challenges, despite our gains in education and entrepreneurship. It is in our best interest to close racial gaps between all women. We can begin to create a society which offers a quality of life for all and a fair and safe workforce that will sustain the United States on the global stage. Our families are changing and we are all unique and different. We all have powerful stories to share of our journeys. When we share our stories and when we listen to the stories of our sisters, we become more aware, we awake, we are encouraged.
The purpose of the conference was twofold: to increase awareness of the current and projected state of Women of Color in the United States through the telling and listening of our own stories and voices and to discover and scroll the ways women can connect, equip, network, support and encourage each other while on their life journeys.
Conference planners were apparently aware of the perspective that facts can be impersonal. Creative ways were employed to interact with the facts of The Shriver Report while at the same time fostering a sense of community, the strengthening of relationships, the sharing of coping/helping strategies, and methods of intervening with others to make a difference in societal worldviews.
The focus was first on giving attendees unique and creative ways of engaging God, ourselves, our sisters, and the world and secondly on prayerfully integrating information from The Shriver Reportinto our conscious thoughts and self-awareness. Through a time of sharing personal stories and dialogue on tough issues, such as sexual violence, as well as interacting with images from selected videos expressing womanist values, sisters were invited to reflect on how powerful our stories are with the reality that God is operating in, with, and through our stories and lived experiences.
As a show of solidarity with the history of a hurting world, each participant was invited to be a part of a living scroll. The living scroll project is an artful expression of sisters adding their names, birth dates, thoughts, prayers, poetry, clip art, and other self-expressions to the scroll of powerful stories of historical women with the purpose of connecting us physically, emotionally, and spiritually with the legacy of wisdom, strength, and endurance. The act of taking time to share and to actively listen to others’ stories was inspiring and healing.
The essence of community means no one or group is alone. Where would sisters be without brothers? In giving ear and voice to our sisters in the presence of attentive brothers, new and unique life principles were discovered to facilitate the breaking of chains and barriers to healthy relationships while fostering dynamic community building and relevant strategies of peace.