This week we celebrated gender and human equality in the Fort with neighbors helping neighbors. It was serendipitous how events came together with festivities showcasing some of the best qualities of humanity and our unique sense of community here in north Texas.
1. Following President Jimmy Carter (JC as witnessed on his belt buckle) as he and his wife were out and about town, building at the age of 90, homes with Habitat for Humanity volunteers for Meadowbrook neighbors who could only dream of home ownership until this week.
2. Attending a Women’s Policy Forum meeting and listening to leaders from Fort Worth Housing Authority, Downtown Inc., and South Inc. discuss collaborative ways to build more affordable housing in FW even with the rising cost of land and the demand for real estate. FW is booming but we have a waiting list of thousands needing reduced rate housing options. At least we are exploring creative partnerships.
3. Celebrating the Day of the Girl marching down Main Street with the students from Young Women’s Leadership Academy and carrying signs and shouting out that women are “Strong, Smart and Bold”. Thank you to Girls Inc for sponsoring the event and for women and men who came out to support the walk. FW has a strong mayor in Betsy Price and she has been all over town supporting the events this week. About 17.4% of all city mayors are women, about on par with the U.S. House of Representatives. And the U.S. Senate now has 20 women, an all-time high. But we can do better.
4. Breaking bread with a delegation of Saudi women visiting the Fort to learn about local politics including how to run for city council. The group met with our Mayor as well as staff from Wendy Davis’s campaign office. Next year, in Saudia Arabia, women will have for the first time, the right to run for office and vote. The women we met were educators, business leaders, mothers, and volunteers in their communities. We will be watching to see how the elections turn out in 2016.
5. Celebrating that Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize and she is only 17. What is next for her and the future of other young women who are beginning their adult lives in 2014?
6. Sharing a bowl of soup with two of Fort Worth ISD’s board of trustees, Judy and Tobi, and listening to them discuss local issues with five women from the Saudi delegation. In Saudia Arabia, education curriculum is managed and led at the national level compared to local control in Texas. Everyone gained new insight as female leaders of their respective communities.
7. Keeping up with the rulings of laws against gay marriage and stricter voter registration rules…some of these laws took hits in the courts this week.
8. Affirming my personal freedom when the Saudi women were surprised that I drove a car alone after dark without a male accompaniment and their wonder that RM shares home chores with me. They secretly videotaped him emptying the dishwasher to share with friends back home.
9. Introducing our Saudi guests with our preschool neighbor, Nora, who quietly observed the guests’ pretty dresses and “ribbons” in their hair.
10. Experiencing an unseasonably hot week, followed by a cooling rain last night and now a week-end full of college football and the celebration of the arts with Arts Goggle and cooler temperatures. To life and to the freedom to exercise our rights to vote in the upcoming state and local elections in just a few weeks.
…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”
― Abigail Adams