Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Sad But Necessary Moment

I am a recently joined member of a Jewish Peace Group locally which already means a lot to me. Recently we had a much needed mediation effort related to difficulties primarily between an "older" member, who founded the local group and (basically) the remaining core of the leadership of the group (who are much younger).

At the meeting it became clear to me that the three (of 12 total) attendees who appeared to be over 70 had a totally different vision of an activist group which was incompatible with the rest of us who were there.

My activist awakening came in the 1980's struggling (at first) with a men's anti-rape group as we built ourselves into a wonderful, successful group. Building trust, working by consensus, and learning to respect each other (as men) took time and a lot of work. Through the hard internal work we did together, we were able to do incredible work for quite a few years. We built the respect first of the local feminist community and later many others locally and nationally.

Now, twenty years later working primarily with younger women, I can see tinges of what we faced before in my past life as well as new, welcome, but difficult challenges.

The strong, wonderful "older" woman has now decided to leave our Group. We hope that she will share her incredible knowledge and contacts with us as she intends to do.

To be an effective group we need to both work together cohesively and to struggle with issues that divide us. Reluctantly I feel that this woman, despite her warm heart and love for so much that we believe in, could not work effectively with us.

Fortunately, her activisim will continue, unabated. Now unhinged from the constraints we, of necessity, tried to begin imposing, she, hopefully will find an easier and more fulfilling path. Now we, as a group, can begin learning our lessons from what happened and move forward on our desired path.

It is sad, but I think necessary!


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