News from Woman Within Western USA
Dear Women of Western USA,
I can’t quite believe we are already in the second month of 2021. Where I live in California it is Almond Blossom time. I always find a moment this time of year to drive out to an Almond orchard. I sneak in and just close my eyes and smell. It is the loveliest of all smells. I think it is important to remember in our busy lives to take those moments to stop and just enjoy the world we live in. I encourage you to go and smell some almond blossoms, eat a cookie or enjoy a sunset. Whatever it is that brings joy to your soul. Do that.
Please remember to RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join the connection circle on the 4th Sunday of the month at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Pacific time.
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Dear Women of Western USA,
December 21st is the shortest day of the year, the day when the earth is tilted as far away from the sun as it can be. For many people I know that 2020 has seen a shift towards the dark. As the earth starts it’s slow movement to tilt back towards the sun and the light comes back into our lives I trust that 2021 will see a shift back towards the light for all of us. My wishes for you all at the end of this year are for health and peace. May we all meet again in person in the coming year. I look forward to the hugs.
Lastly, speaking of hugs — one way for you to get some “virtual hugs” is to join our new “Connection Circle for Initiated Women.” We held our first Connection Circle in November and will continue to do so the last Sunday of every month at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. This Connection Circle is open to any woman who has completed the Weekend.
Our next Connection Circle will be on Sunday, December 27th at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Please email me to RSVP and receive the Zoom link. I hope to see many of you there!
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2020 certainly has played a number of tricks on us this year. Luckily, there are some hidden treats. As we navigate this strange new world I see silver linings in this global pandemic. One of the brightest of these silver linings is the ability to offer Virtual programming and connection to women who were previously beyond our reach. Last weekend our region hosted the second Online Skills training offered by Woman Within International. We had women from Texas, New York, California, and Mexico attending. It was a powerful experience for all involved!
Our last Online Circle Training for 2020 will take place in November. Registration is open now. In December 2020, we will be hosting Christie Miller’s Shame workshop — see below for more information in this newsletter. Our Program Director, Marilyn Dugan, is hard at work researching a number of other Virtual Offerings that we plan to offer in the future.
Lastly, I am excited to announce and I want to personally invite any of you who are looking for more support and connection to join me on the last Sunday of every month at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. for a “Connection Circle for Initiated Women.” This Connection Circle is open to any woman who has completed the weekend. Many of us sit in committed circles and I know that I still miss the connection that I have with the wider community. By offering this Connection Circle I hope to offer an opportunity for women to connect with their friends from around the region in a safe and supportive way.
Our first Connection Circle will be on Sunday, November 29th at 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. Please email me to RSVP and receive the Zoom link. I hope to see many of you there!
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
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Who would have thought in March when “Shelter in Place “ began that we would still be under the restrictions of the Covid-19 Pandemic in August. I have been mourning the loss of our Weekends, planned family vacations and the loss of personal connection. But the unexpected isolation has also brought many gifts to my life. My husband, who is working from home, and I have re-discovered the joy of sitting together on the front porch with our coffee each morning. I have read more books in the last 2 months than I have in the last 2 years.
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Update for our 2020 Weekends:
It is with great sadness that we must cancel and postpone all of our Woman Within Western USA Weekends for the remainder of the year.
Our main concern at Woman Within Western USA is the health and safety of our community. Due to continuing rise in Covid-19 infections nationwide a decision has been made to cancel all remaining 2020 in person events. Please watch for news about upcoming virtual events as we continue to foster connection and growth in Western USA.
Wishing everyone a safe and healthy summer.
What is the Racial Equity Journey?
The 26-Day Racial Equity Journey is a chance to move from the question “what would I have done back then?” to “what will I do now?” You commit to raise your awareness, deepen your understanding and shift old patterns of behavior. We do this with the goal of creating a world of equity. Each week has a theme and each day you will be given materials to engage with and questions to ponder. At the end of 26 days you will have a wealth of knowledge to help you understand these issues, tackle difficult conversations and take action to effect change. The journey is available to all adults and all genders.
Find more information here.
Call for Race Equity Inclusion
The events of the past few weeks have grieved many of us. For many white women in our community it has been a wake up call. It is past time that we began really listening to the stories of our Black sisters. It is time that we step up as advocates in the fight for social justice and race equity.
One thing that we have heard from Black women in our community is that they need a space where they can feel safe. A space where they can drop any shields or masks that they put on to make white people comfortable. Black women need Black only space — surrounded by women who have a shared lived experience. This article goes into greater detail about the importance of Black Only spaces: https://arrow-journal.org/why-people-of-color-need-spaces-without-white-people/#.XHdsODcpSUT.facebook.
“People of color need their own spaces…We need spaces where we can be our authentic selves without white people’s judgment and insecurity muzzling that expression. We need spaces where we can simply be—where we can get off the treadmill of making white people comfortable and finally realize just how tired we are.
Valuing and protecting spaces for people of color (PoC) is not just a kind thing that white people can do to help us feel better; supporting these spaces is crucial to the resistance of oppression. When people of color are together, there can be healing.”
Woman Within Western USA is launching the first On-line Open Circle for Black Women on Sunday, July 12th at 4:00-6:00 p.m. PDT (6:00-8:00 p.m. CDT and 7:00-9:00 p.m. EDT). Please share this information with all the Black women in your network who feel in need of a safe space to meet and share and support each other. Any woman who is interested should email Marie Bice at Pastpresident@womanwithinwesternusa.org who will then provide them with a Zoom link for the event.
For any woman who feels the desire to help, please consider donating to our Scholarship fund for Women of Color. Monies from this Scholarship fund will be used to help women from underrepresented groups attend our programs: https://womanwithinwesternusa.org/donate-or-give-a-gift/.
Our parent organization, Woman Within International, has developed a Racial Equity Journey. A 26 day program for any woman who is interested in learning more about how to combat the systemic racism in our society; how we contribute and perpetuate it and how we can start to educate ourselves to combat it. I encourage every woman in our region to consider completing the 26 Day Journey.
Woman Within Western USA is a group of Women supporting Women, providing pathways to self-discovery, connection and transformation. I invite our community to actively seek to include our Black sisters in this work.
President, Woman Within Western USA
Our Commitment to Racial Equity
Supporting all women is the bedrock of who we are as an organization. As protesters call for racial equity around the world, we face the truth that our intention to support all women has not always matched our impact.
These protests highlight that People of Color are subject to systemic racism and discriminatory practices in all sectors of society across the globe. How we each experience the systems in which we move too often depends on our race.
Every organization is a part of the greater system, and Woman Within International must be willing to explore how we contribute to the problem and how we can be a part of the solution. We are a community that values self-examination, healing, and empowerment. Today we commit to:
● Self-examination: Woman Within International has started by developing a comprehensive diversity and inclusion policy and, more recently, a policy mandating diversity and inclusion training. But this is just the start. We have created a 26 -Day Racial Equity Journey which you can start any time from July 6th, 2020. Our goal is to take a deep and meaningful journey together as a community to raise our awareness, deepen our understanding and shift old patterns of behavior. This journey is open to all adults, so please share it far and wide.
● Healing: It is clear that immense racial trauma exists, perhaps in all of us. In a step towards healing, we will start providing Online Circles of Support for Women of Color. These circles will be led by Women of Color and will aim to provide a safe space for nurturing and support. Information on how to join one of these circles will be published on July 6th, 2020.
● Empowerment: Having these conversations requires courage, respect and compassion, and may not always be comfortable. We commit to exploring and developing resources that empower our community to speak up, stand up and take action.
Join us on this journey. We are all strong and loving women. We can do what must be done.
Woman Within Western USA is pleased to announce a new program offering – an Online Circle Training!
Learn to create a safe place where women can connect, share their experiences, and own their feelings without dumping their feelings onto others, getting lost in their story, giving advice, or rescuing others from their emotions.
You’ll learn active listening skills and how to stay in connection during times of group or individual conflict.
Dates and Time: to be announced
Cost: $195.00 includes your program fee, and printing and shipping of training materials
Location: Zoom (video conference). Please feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns to Kris at email@example.com
We posted our first communication on the novel coronavirus, encouraging online connections, on March 25. While Spring celebrations may look very different this year, the essence of this time of year remains the same: renewal and joy. In light of what’s happening in our world today, the season of optimism and hope could not have come at a better time. Read more.
In response to COVID-19 and recommendations from other Woman Within leaders worldwide, we are cancelling upcoming events through April 30, 2020. During this time, we encourage Open Circles and Committed Circles to hold circles online. To help with this transition, Woman Within International is providing access to Zoom accounts for Open and Committed Circle hosts: contact Judy Rudin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the women of Western USA – THANK YOU. From Arizona to Washington to Oregon to Idaho to Utah and throughout California, I have made the deepest friendships and the most profound personal growth. Each of you have supported me in various stages of my life for over a decade. It has been an honor to serve as your President for over four years. I have grown as a leader and our region continues to grow and thrive. I’m excited to serve as Past President. Read more
Our news includes plans for Weekends in 2021, reports from our Anniversary Celebration, staffing opportunities, Circle Training, Skills Workshop, and more. We are introducing three new members of our leadership team: Desiree, Nicole, and Kris. Ready to let your light shine, too? We also have an impressive number of women hosting Open Circles in our region, too.
Join us in celebrating 20 years as a Woman Within Region January 11 & 12 from 10 am Saturday to 3 pm Sunday in Aptos, California, secluded among coastal redwoods just inland from the shores of Monterey Bay, south of Santa Cruz. Space is limited.
Happy Holidays. Will we see you at our Anniversary Celebration Jan 11 & 12? It’s coming soon and there still are tickets Bring friends – all women over 18 years are welcome. Please read on for activities and opportunities in our region. May your holidays bring you memories you’ll always treasure. Woman Within Western USA.
Dear women: yours truly, your Communication Director is stepping aside to focus on family and health and allow an opportunity for another. The last three years have been delightful, but it’s time to focus on family and health. Contact nominations to toss your hat into the ring. Keep reading to learn about this opportunity to serve on the Board, new members of our team, and our Anniversary Celebration. Wishing you happiness well-being,
Ann DiLoreto, Communications Director
Greetings! This is turning out to be a season of growth, transitions, and excitement! We welcomed 31 new Weekend graduates to our community in June, new team members to the Board, and are looking for others to join us. On a personal note, I received a promotion with my career and relocated to the panhandle of Texas, where I will continue to serve as Western USA President. Read on for the announcement of our region’s nominations for the International Rose Award. and more news about our region. We look forward to enjoying the joyous summer season with you.
Marie Bice, President, Woman Within Western USA