Blog by Gina…
Last week was a busy week. At least for me. We had a staff party with United Way to celebrate our goal to have 100% staff giving! We had a social event in which a potluck was followed by a trip to Theater in the Grove’s production of Cinderella, starring our very own Kristi Van Nostran as Joy, the ugly step sister. It was hilarious and fun was had by all. But most importantly, this week we went to the Center for Gender Equity’s BRIDGE program Year End Celebration at Pacific University. The Bridge Program allows Adelante Mujeres program participants to study literature with Professor Nancy Christoph at Pacific.
To be honest, I went because of the food. I hadn’t packed a lunch, wasn’t thrilled about my take out options and I was hungry. Plus, I like to support and interact with the students as much as time allows. I sauntered over to Pacific, my old stomping grounds, up the stairs of Marsh Hall into Taylor Auditorium. It was different from how I remembered but nice to be back. A PowerPoint presentation was set up, welcoming the guests and students. Martha Rampton addressed the crowd, explaining the long time partnership between Adelante Mujeres and the Center for Gender Equity. Bridget spoke as well, to thank Martha and CGE but also to encourage the students as they nervously fiddled with papers or hair in their seats. Then Nancy took the microphone. She is wonderful. She was my favorite professor at Pacific. She does incredible work, especially with the women of Adelante Mujeres. Watching her, listening to her speak about the journey though several short works of literature and poetry with the women over the past 12 weeks, I remembered what a great teacher Nancy is. I felt happy to know that she was sharing her gifts with the students of Adelante Mujeres. What I wasn’t prepared for were the gifts the students had to share with the crowd.
They had written 1-2 poems each week of the class and Nancy asked them to share their favorite two. Oh me, oh my, we had a room of very talented poets. There were odes to tables and sofas and food, there were poems dedicated to sons and teachers, there were poems about motherhood, immigration and love. And they were good. I was brought to tears a few times, so were many of the students presenting. They really had opened up to the process and shared their innermost thoughts and feelings and what came out was in the form of beautiful poetry.
I hope to be able to share with you some of the poetry in the near future but I am still working on permission.
Please know these women have extraordinary talents that have been hidden or gone unrecognized because of little formal education, language and cultural barriers, gender bias, isolation and time. Given the opportunity, through their studies at Adelante Mujeres, these women will continue to thrive.
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