I want to wish all a healthy, contented, and prosperous 2014. In reflecting upon the AAUW mission, I am reminded why I joined the organization in the first place. I like networking with bright articulate females, who are committed to progress and champion causes that impact our communities. Some of us are now in our senior years, but before we settle down in our rocking chairs or sit to the sidelines hoping others will carry the banner, there is still so much to be done. I want to remind my sisters that we are still knowledgeable, and bring a world view that younger people haven’t experienced. Individual branches still need to be viable organizations that foster involvement for the greater good. So, as we arrange for discussions about our most current reads, or partner up for our bridge games, let’s also look at the very long list of social issues that need to be addressed, and choose some that can be positively impacted by the talent within the group.
I learned a poem when I was in fifth grade that is as meaningful today as it was when I first learned it. I learned early on to let people know they were appreciated when the thought occurs, and I learned that I was expected to be a part of solutions rather than contributing to the problems.
If you want to live in the kind of town,
Like the kind of a town you like,
You needn’t slip your clothes in a bag,
And start on a long, long hike.
You’ll only find what you left behind,
For there’s nothing really new,
When you blame the town you blame yourself
It isn’t your town-it’s you. …. (Author unknown)
A recent article reminded US citizens that little more than 500 people in Washington control much of our destiny. With more than 300,000,000 people in the United States, adults have the power to challenge decisions that are not in the best interest of our people. If talking fails, we have the ability through our vote to remove those who champion their own personal agendas over the greater good of the public. By remembering we are more alike than we are different, and all human beings need to have their basic necessities provided for, we can collaborate in ways that can empower our nation.
I have chosen my projects already. I can’t do everything, so I will concentrate on what I can do. I can champion education because that is my field, and I have benefited greatly from the opportunities mine has provided. A nation that fails its schools has doomed itself to mediocrity. I will not support rape as acceptable practice in the military. I must help returning soldiers get the care they need so they can transition back to their families and the community. I will react when a veteran and his wife indicate paying their rent this month will put them further behind economically because they have received a pay cut. I have no family in the military, so I am grateful to the people who serve. I can’t think of many in Washington who would be willing to live under the same conditions they create for others. I am now more committed to pushing for laws that require our representatives at the state and national level to live under the rules they create for the public—including raises, insurance, retirements, etc.
I trust the readers will discover their own projects and apply their own creativity and intellect in ways that make us stronger, because that is what AAUW women do!