In Berlin, Germany, late in the evening on Monday, November 10th, a young woman named Katharina Sebert sits at her table all prepared for the Gather the Women Regional Coordinators monthly call. Her phone, the meeting agenda, her pen, and a cup of tea are arranged in front of her. In Juneau, Alaska, I, an older woman, sit at a table where it is early morning. My phone, the meeting agenda, my pen, one of Donna Ahlstrand’s gourds in lieu of a candle, and a cup of tea are arranged in front of me. Our kitten decides to join me, but I gently put him back to bed and shut the door. It’s quiet in our house.
I posted a picture of that scene on Facebook, and within a few hours after the teleconference, a silken thread appeared on Facebook between Katharina and me. She said her table mirrored mine except for the kitten. I told her I had been to Germany. The first time was 1966, the year I graduated from high school. (Coincidentally, that was the year that Katharina was born.) I was on an “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium” kind of student tour. We went to Bavaria, but did not get to Berlin. In 2002, I was in Berlin for work and I carved out the time in a busy schedule to visit the Berlin Wall.
Sunday, November 9th, was the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Katharina had shared on Facebook that she held a circle gathering for war children and grandchildren around the profound question: “What helped me to live/survive in my family?” That is what they call in Conversation Cafe “a question that matters”. In my mind, I could see silken threads delicately connecting all girls and women in war-torn countries around the world with women who cared about them. There are so many of these wars now where women and girls are in such peril. Who among us can see the terrifying images without thinking, “That could be me.”
When Jean Shinoda Bolen sent out the message to “gather the women, save the world”, she knew there are young women like Katharina who will not wait until they are retired, the kids are bigger, the divorce is final, their workload gets lighter, or whatever else prevents them from acting. The time is now. Send silken threads out into the world. Weave a global tapestry of women with the courage, heart, strength, and brilliance to turn the tide.