A Message From The President

September 2020

It is back to school time, whatever that means these days, and the “real” beginning of the Athena year.  However, as I said in August, Athena did not take the summer off this year like we usually do – committees have been meeting, bonuses scheduled, Athena Reads is 2 months in, and a new concept, Athena Shares, is about to debut.  We had an August newsletter, plus a special Women’s Equality Day edition, thanks to Linda Saul Sena and the very active Community Action Committee.

As I reflect on all this activity, I find irony in the fact that one of my goals for this year, pre-Covid, was to increase fellowship and fellowship opportunities within Athena – only to start the year with forced social distancing.  However, especially after the recent Athena Reads program, very ably moderated by Rose Brempong, what I am seeing is indeed more and closer fellowship.  Yes, it is through zoom and not face to face, but the intimate conversations and shared thoughts and ideas are there!  Maybe it’s the less rushed lives many of us are leading right now, or maybe it’s the appetite for any form of companionship, friendship or fellowship during social distancing, or maybe it’s the frustration and agony of the racial injustices we keep seeing, or maybe it’s all this and more, but I see more fellowship and more openness than we generally experienced when we were meeting in person.

I applaud this and hope that it continues.  I have no reason to think it won’t continue as I look at what we have scheduled ahead.  Our first regular meeting is September 3, when we will meet to celebrate last year’s Career Assistance Grant recipients and hear our speaker, Sartura Smith, from the Centre for Women.  Denise Jordan, last year’s chair, has worked so hard, it promises to be a wonderful evening.  Yes, this is an evening meeting and was planned to be one when I hoped we’d be able to meet in person.  It was my hope that adding a few evening meetings (Young Women of Promise in April will also be an evening meeting) would give some members who have difficulty attending lunch meetings more opportunity to participate.  Although this one will be virtual, we will still have some “happy hour” opportunity if you log on around 5:30 before the 6PM program.  Hopefully being in a breakout room with 10 or fewer Athena sisters for 10 minutes a round will give us as much time for socializing as we get with in person meetings.  At least we’re trying!

Apart from the monthly meetings, the harder discussions around our position statements, whether as part of committee meetings, Athena Reads, Athena Shares, or happy hours, have lead to open and touching dialogues, and they all continue to take place.  It’s been obvious to me that Athena members feel they are in a safe place to share feelings and experiences with each other.  I hope the results of these discussions will be stronger bonds of friendship and that, even more importantly, they will lead to actions that address our shared concerns.  If you haven’t yet called in to any of these events, the good news is we have many continuing opportunities, and I recommend that you use them.  Perhaps some good is coming out of all this – we can at least hope so!

Keep the faith – Kem