Today I was provided with a special treat (sponsored by my workplace). I was able to attend the Conference for Women in Long Beach, which is a bi-partisan conference for the women of California, subtitled “women as architects of change.” I missed it last year, but was able to watch to all of the video footage on the website (though I’m sure it wasn’t complete footage, but better than nothing). If you are interested, I think you may be able to view last year’s and this year’s conference highlights on the site: http://www.californiagovernorsconference.org/.
I attended a morning session titled “Beyond Courage: Overcoming the Unimaginable”, which was led by Linda Ellerbee, with Erin Runnion (the mother of 5-yr old Samantha Runnion, who was slain by a sex offender), Marianne Pearl (Danny Pearl’s widow, her husband being abducted, tortured and then slain in Karachi by al Qaeda) and Trisha Meili (the Central Park jogger, who was raped and bludgeoned, and left for dead by her attacher(s)). Wow. WOW! These women were nothing short of inspiring. During lunch, instead of sitting in on lunch, I walked the exhibits, and got to meet Erin. She is gracious and dedicated to her cause.
The afternoon session that I attended was titled “The Global Goddess: How Women are Changing the World Together” and led by Libby Sartain, and featured the following panelists:
*Diane Granito, Founder, The Heart Gallery
*Zainab Salbi, Founder, President and CEO Women for Women International
*Virginia Martinez Victorin, Director of Communications, Special Needs Child/Parent Advocate, Southern California, Fiesta Educativa
*Dara Near & Vaughn Lohec, Sisters of Lauren Catuzzi, Author, You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls
Zainab’s organization struck home with me (see: http://www.womenforwomen.org/zainab.htm) and I invite you to read through the website’s pages, but all of these women were inspirational and have motivated me to take greater action in bettering my global neighborhood.
This event was empowering, in several ways. There are moments that I think that any small action that I can provide is so minute that it is essentially ineffectual and that no matter what I attempt, change will not occur. These women are proof that this theory of mine is in fact not true. We each have the ability to change things, and we simply need to find out HOW. This venue has provided me with that resource.