Monthly Archives:

January 2013

Events at UN Commission on the Status of Women

I will once again be participating in the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March. The theme of CSW this year is eliminating violence against women — an complex and important issue. In conjunction with Women of Spirit and Faith and the Women’s Task Force at the Parliament, I will be involved in several events:

 

Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women

(co-convened with Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions)

Monday,  March 4, 2013

4:30 PM

Guild Hall

Armenian Convention Center,

630 2nd Avenue

New York, NY 10016

 

Women as Spiritual Leaders: Transforming Violence

Tuesday – March 5, 2013

8:30 – 10  AM

Grumman Room, 8th Floor

Church Center for the UN

777 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

 

Sacred Women’s Circle

Wednesday – March 6, 2013

7-9 pm

Co-Hosted with Millionth Circle, Circle Connections, International Public Policy Institute, 5WCW and others

Chapel/ 1st floor –  Episcopal Church Center

815 Second Avenue

New York, NY

 

Kathe Schaaf TED Talk

TEDx Women Talk Now Online

On December 2, I had the great honor of being the opening speaker at TEDx Women- America’s Finest City in San Diego. My talk , Now Is The Time For Women’s Leadership, has just been posted online.

LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHYew9IweqM

 

Happy New Year — The Wisdom of Alice Walker

This seems a great way to begin 2013.  Alice Walker read this poem on September 28, 2012.  Her reading was replayed this morning on Democracy Now!

 

Democratic Womanism

You ask me why I smile
when you tell me you intend
in the coming national elections
to hold your nose
and vote for the lesser of two evils.
There are more than two evils out there,
is one reason I smile.
Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus
comes to mind, with his fearful
400 year old prophecy: that our world
and theirs too
(our “enemies” – lots of kids included there)
will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)
in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of elections
and the billions of dollars wasted on them
somewhat fatuous.
A Southerner of Color,
my people held the vote
very dear
while others, for centuries,
merely appeared to play
with it.
One thing I can assure
you of is this:
I will never betray such pure hearts
by voting for evil
even if it were microscopic
which, as you can see in any newscast
no matter the slant,
it is not.
I want something else;
a different system
entirely.
One not seen
on this earth
for thousands of years. If ever.
Democratic Womanism.
Notice how this word has “man” right in the middle of it?
That’s one reason I like it. He is right there, front and center. But he is surrounded.
I want to vote and work for a way of life
that honors the feminine;
a way that acknowledges
the theft of the wisdom
female and dark Mother leadership
might have provided our spaceship
all along.
I am not thinking
of a talking head
kind of gal:
happy to be mixing
it up
with the baddest
bad boys
on the planet
her eyes a slit
her mouth a zipper.
No, I am speaking of true
regime change.
Where women rise
to take their place
en masse
at the helm
of earth’s frail and failing ship;
where each thousand years
of our silence
is examined
with regret,
and the cruel manner in which our values
of compassion and kindness
have been ridiculed
and suppressed
brought to bear on the disaster
of the present time.
The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave
it there.
I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhaps
Socialist, Womanism.
For who else knows so deeply
how to share but Mothers
and Grandmothers? Big sisters
and Aunts?
To love
and adore
both female and male?
Not to mention those in between.
To work at keeping
the entire community
fed, educated
and safe?
Democratic womanism,
Democratic Socialist
Womanism,
would have as its icons
such fierce warriors
for good as
Vandana Shiva
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Wangari Maathai
Harriet Tubman
Yoko Ono
Frida Kahlo
Angela Davis
& Barbara Lee:
With new ones always rising, wherever you look.

You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem! So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune. John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there. Happy to be surrounded!

There is no system
There is no system
now in place
that can change
the disastrous course
the Earth is on.
Who can doubt this?
The male leaders
of Earth
appear to have abandoned
their very senses
though most appear
to live now
entirely
in their heads.
They murder humans and other
animals
forests and rivers and mountains
every day
they are in office
and never seem
to notice it.
They eat and drink devastation.
Women of the world,
Women of the world,
Is this devastation Us?
Would we kill whole continents for oil
(or anything else)
rather than limit
the number of consumer offspring we produce
and learn how to make our own fire?
Democratic Womanism.
Democratic Socialist Womanism.
A system of governance
we can dream and imagine and build together. One that recognizes
at least six thousand years
of brutally enforced complicity
in the assassination
of Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand years
ahead of us when we will not submit.
What will we need? A hundred years
at least to plan: (five hundred will be handed us
gladly
when the planet is scared enough)
in which circles of women meet,
organize ourselves, and,
allied with men
brave enough to stand with women,
men brave enough to stand with women,
nurture our planet to a degree of health.
And without apology —-
(impossible to make
a bigger mess than has been made already) -—
devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,
to tirelessly serving and resuscitating Our Mother ship
and with gratitude
for Her care of us
worshipfully commit
to rehabilitating it.

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"Kathe Schaaf is a gift for all of us looking for new authentic leadership models in these times of global change and challenge! Her honesty, energy and willingness to be vulnerable inspire deep commitment to making a better world. She has a wonderful way of igniting people to do the work they have come here to do and I personally have been kindled by her kindness, courage and visionary ways." — Clare Peterson, Gather the Women Canada