President’s Message for March 2017

Those of you who were able to attend the February general meeting were treated to a very complete discussion on pay and gender equity. Coming up at the Thursday, March 9 meeting the topic is Human Trafficking. The meeting starts at 2:00 p.m. at the Camano Island Library. When most of us think of Human Trafficking, we usually see it as limited to sex trafficking. At our next general meeting we will learn that Human Trafficking encompasses much more than merely sex trafficking. This problem is often seen as something that occurs in distant places to people we don’t know. This presentation will bring the problem home. Human Trafficking can occur in our own backyard. I sincerely hope that you all will be able to join us.

As the final days of winter hail the approach of Spring, most of us are ready to see the temperatures move up and the snow, hail and ice subside. This is also a time when we traditionally undertake Spring-cleaning. I would propose to you that Spring-cleaning extends beyond merely removing the dust from the corners of your home that all winter has been hiding in the shadows. I would challenge you to find an area of your life that could be enhanced by undertaking a new activity. This is a way to clean the cobwebs out of your life and get you outside your comfort zone. In January we were inspired to think beyond ourselves and find ways to serve our community. In February the challenge was to think of the roadblocks that women still have to navigate in the work place and in education. March takes us beyond ourselves and brings a heart-wrenching problem into neighborhoods that we may regularly enter (even if you don’t see those problems in your own neighborhood). These are only three areas that could challenge you to action. There are many more. Seek out areas where you can make a tangible contribution, where what you do can make a difference in someone else’s life.

At a time when new planets around a distant star are being observed and assessed as alternates to our Earth, we need to focus more closely on ourselves, the people around us, our communities and neighborhoods. Very few people are capable of making a difference on such a grand scale. Our objective should be to find ways to improve not only ourselves but also those around us. Let’s analyze our own talents, our preferences and our untapped abilities. Let’s tap those areas within each one of us that have lain dormant. Let’s practice contagious compassion. Let’s make a difference wherever we can. You might ask, “What exactly is contagious compassion?” You practice contagious compassion when you put your heart into what you do and when what you do puts others first. Our AAUW branch may be involved with a sleepy community called Stanwood and a sleepier Island called Camano, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a big noise and affect changes beyond our community. Change comes slowly because human nature does not like change. In Spanish there is a saying that goes “Si cada uno pone su granito de arena mucho se puede lograr” (If everyone contributes one grain of sand, much can be accomplished). Let’s go out and accomplish all we can together by practicing contagious compassion.
~Norma Mouton, President

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