When A Dream Come True
As we celebrate women’s day, I am so grateful for our first canyon session women gathering last week at my house. The idea was to bring together incredible women that inspire me every day through the positive change they are making in the world.
Almost every day, I meet women who are leading the way in building a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive world.
One woman said ‘we are the champion of working for free just because we want to do goods.’ This is so true. The more I think about her remark, the more I think women’s work should be highly valued and highly financially rewarded.
Another woman mentioned how crazy is it that we value more start-ups with high growth or companies which don’t provide substantial values and contributions to our society than non-profits which can impact millions of people.
We question high salaries for non-profit CEOs but hardly examine Amazon’s CEO trajectory based on getting subsidies from the U.S government meaning the taxpayers…(us) ultimately. Amazon pays $0 in federal taxes with millions of dollars in profits and customers are also paying Amazon premium to use the platform…..It does not feel right.
In the meantime, the growth of non-profits organizations has staggered.
Nonprofits are not by far the only solutions but they are definitely part of the answers. Some organizations like Oxfam, Women’s Audio Mission, Fair Trade La, Save The Children, Refushe to name a few are doing incredible work to impact thousands of people’s life directly or indirectly. We should marshall more needed resources to these organizations. One suggestion would be to reallocate 10% of the U.S military budget to nonprofits which would be equivalent to 62 billion of dollars.
A conforting community
So, getting together with a bunch of women from all ages, all backgrounds, many of them with more than one language, sometimes two or three, all trying to make a difference one way or another was genuinely inspiring.
We talk about the power of food and Jennifer shared a story of how her monthly themes recipes and food boxes have created conversation. She recalled one in particular when her Iraqi theme food box sparked a discussion within a family where parents started to talk with their kids to figure out where Iraq was on the map.
Supporting one another
Beyond the fancy food pictures, food indeed helps people to bond in a meaningful way. Amrita Thadani, the founder of Neococo from who provides work for refugee women organized an incredible meal cooked by Ibtisam. She is an Iraqi woman who came to the U.S 3 years ago after escaping Iraq and leaving in Turkey (or more explicitly hiding) for a couple of years.
Ibtisam said that one of her regrets is that her sons would never know Iraq as she had experienced it in the ’70s and would never have the fond and loving memories she still cherishes. She talks about feeling lonely in America, struggling with her English and not knowing many people who speak Arabic. It is already an unsettling endeavor to move countries, but it’s even harder when you are older, and English is not your first language. Ibtisam was sharing how getting some work with the help of Neococo is important to her. Besides the welcome income, she feels useful. Some women volunteered to introduce Ibtisam to an Iraqi community in Los Angeles. She was just happy to be surrounded by women who were enjoying being together and sharing their personal stories with each other; just like what she used to have.
There is so much we can achieve just by building community and supporting each other and women are champions at connecting, supporting, and cheering for each other. In a way, I feel women are at the center of the sharing economy, and my hope is their business growth will drive empathy and shared values which won’t be solely based on profits but more on the positive transforming impact we are creating for the whole society.
This is was a beautiful evening. A dream come true.
I want to share what Elisha Chan wrote the next day about our gathering. It made me so grateful to be part of this community, so thankful to grow my extended family, so inspired to keep pushing bringing women’s voices to the spotlight.
Happy women’s day
Juliette Roy, Founder Be Your Change media
Last night at the Be Your Change evening ladies night, while we were sitting around this cozy living room, someone said that this was a dream come true. This connectivity, this community, and this peace they’ve found in Los Angeles.
At first, my reaction was, “Peace in LA? That’s unheard of.”
But as I was looking at the ladies around the room, it was truly moving to see the diversity in color + language + background, and yet the complete peace + solidarity we felt being around each other while the outside world is getting more angry, tense, and divided everyday.
Call me naive, but if we can have more living room conversations like this, sharing our stories + backgrounds, while eating home cooked meals (ours was made by an immigrant resettling from Iraq) and more importantly, sharing our dreams for the world we want to create – then, we will find peace, wherever we are in the world.
Thank you for a beautiful night of peace in the midst of chaos. Elisha Chan, Executive Director of Fair Trade LA