This 101 International Women’s Day will also be when thousands of beings stand together on bridges in 70 countries around the world. Four hundred and sixty-four events just like this one were held last year, when Redding’s celebration was being birthed.
As March 8 approaches, mark your calendars for this very special day that we will “fill our bridge” for peace.
Al Schaller, an outdoor enthusiast from Redding, began this celebration in our city last year. After reading “A Thousand Sisters”, by Lisa Shannon, he felt moved to begin a stand and celebration here in Shasta County.
“A Thousand Sisters” is a tough read as it honestly portrays the atrocities that occur in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The author ran a solo 30-mile run to sponsor Congolese sisters. When she asked a woman in the Congo, “How can we help?” The answer came, “Stop the violence.”
She began pouring droplets of water on a forest fire in her efforts and they have since expanded, having helped 66,000 women and children to date.
“Join us on the Bridge” is an event held on International Women’s Day that began on a bridge connecting The Congo and Rwanda. The first “Join Us on the Bridge” was created by Women for Women International in 2010. The purpose is to help women from war-torn countries by standing with them to show that we support their demands for equality. Women for Women states that, “Women are peace-builders, and with equality at the peace negotiation tables and governing bodies of their countries we will build a more peaceful world.”
Last year, people met on the Great Wall of China, The Millennium Bridge in London, and other bridges in Baghdad, Canterbury and New York, just to name a few.
The purpose of the meet-ups in each town can vary, but the focus remains on the celebration and enhancement of the lives’ of women by creating peace locally and globally.
In Redding, a small group of men, women and children joined on the Sundial Bridge and took a stand for peace in our own community, sharing stories of strength and solidarity. I was overwhelmed with the need to grow this event in our town.
This year, The Shasta Women’s Refuge and Tamara’s Healing Garden will be co-sponsoring this event with the goal being to “fill up the bridge” with women, men and children who want to join forces for peace. We will have a time of stillness and reflection, hear from a special guest speaker from our own community, and have the opportunity to purchase products created by local women.
This is a day to show up for women, to celebrate women, and to pray and offer support for those sisters who need our help.
My freshman year at Foothill High at the old Nova High I took English class with Mr. Gary Hollohan. He talked to us girls about how to respect and protect ourselves in the dating world, and he spoke of what we deserve. On his oh-so-ominous chalk board he wrote this quote by an unknown author (which I’ve kept on my refrigerator in 10 different apartments through college and the dating stages of my younger years). It seems special to share it as I write of this upcoming event.
“Woman was made from the rib of man. She was not made from his head to top him, nor his feet to be stepped upon. She was made by his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected by him; near his heart to be unconditionally loved by him.”
What: On the Bridge, International Women’s Day, 2012
When: noon, March 8
Where: The Sundial Bridge in Redding
Music: Holly Day
Vendors: Women who create their own products
Tamara Joy Patterson was raised in Northern California and lives in Palo Cedro with her husband and their two children. She is a graduate of CSU, Chico, and Clayton College of Natural Health with degrees in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, and Natural Health, and is a certified mind-body expert and ACSM certified exercise specialist. Tamara has been in the health-and-wellness field professionally for more than 12 years as a wellness expert, college health instructor and yoga teacher. To learn more about Tamara Joy you can visit her website at: www.tamarashealinggarden.com
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