The Person Inside of Us, Part One.

Posted on December 29, 2012. Filed under: My Lemon Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

cj speaks

Often, I get sidetracked and don’t post in the moment.  Well, I can’t let this moment slip by.  This is a two parter, as I tell my story of the past two weeks.

On 12.12.12, my lovely Wife conceptualized and executed a high level leadership summit, in the span of 57 days.  She brought together two of the most powerful female ambassadors in the world, Academians, Feminist Pioneers, high power Wall Streeters, Philanthropists, and Entrepreneurs to discuss increasing the number of women in leadership roles.  So many times, we hear parallel goals amongst women’s groups, but the entities never converge.  History has shown that the greatest gains have occurred through collaboration, and that is what we presented.  I watched a 91 yr old activist laughing with a 23 yr old chemist and a 40-something entrepreneur, sharing common ground.  When I gave the welcome remarks, I gave three takeaways I’d hope the attendees would take to heart:  1.  “The years teach what the days will never know.”  I learned this in the police academy, that there is a wealth of knowledge in this world, and someone has already traveled the path you will soon embark upon.  Learn from them.  2.  “We need each other to make the greatest strides.”  We all have our differences, but we have common ground, too.  We need to work with each other to accomplish our common goals, any major victory in this world has occurred when people reach across the aisle.  3.  “We need men.”  When delivered by a burly lesbian, one would have a hard time taking this statement out of context.  My father was hugely instrumental in who I am as an activist, businesswoman, and humanitarian.  Whether is be  a family member, friend or colleague, we need men as allies for the advancement of women.  The gathering was a success.  www.impactleadership21.com

cj group 1

As we’re riding high off our event, breaking news comes over the airwaves.  A shooting has occurred in CT.  As time goes on, we get more details, and they are horrific.  The last time I had information hit me this hard was 9/11/01.  Obviously there would be similarities and differences.  I was a first responder during 9/11 and I knew I would be in CT.

Dear Friends:  I thank you for your accolades, but please know, I have difficulty accepting them.  I do appreciate your words, I just have difficulty expressing my appreciation.  Taking compliments is one of my flaws.

Jann and I put up a public “car share”, so others wanting to help could have a ride.  Minerva Diaz of the NYMLK Center for Non-Violence and Dr. Judy Kuriansky, our friends, took us up on the offer.  Both have a wealth of experience in healing dialogue, so we were confident we could help.

We had reports of road closures, but that was not the reality.  I drove through back roads for no worth other than scenery.  We arrived at the Reed Intermediate School where we knew they had counseling teams.  We were warmly greeted by volunteers from Billy Graham Ministries, then not so warmly by the Red Cross.  When we were introducing ourselves, one of the women in charge walked away mid sentence.  We looked for the grief counselor sign in and signed up for available slots.

I’ve had difficulty identifying as a first responder, but by definition, any entity that secures the front lines is a first responder.  Cops, EMT’s, counselors and grief/stress handlers are first responders.  Training only gets you so far, the rest is having a heart for it.  Preparing for something like this is limited, but some components remain the same.  People would need support.

Dear Red Cross:  Cold meals and no smiles, even to children, does not count as support.  You take in tons of money but what you give is mediocre.  YOU SUCK.  Support is placing a sterno so kids can have some hot baked ziti, or a $39 40 cup hot pot (I know, I bought one and brought it up) so that people enduring sleepless nights had a point of comfort.  Support is returning a smile from a kid that was covered in blood a day before.  That family was looking for comfort and you failed to deliver.  Yes, you had lots of stuffed animals, but did you hear the kids saying they felt guilty taking presents?  They Yankees donated the Christmas monkeys, but who did they really go to?  More volunteers than affected persons.  The world will know what you did, signed The burly black woman in the cowboy hat.

We talked to some of the first responders while Dr. Judy talked to the clinicians.  There were a few townspeople around, but they were slightly standoff-ish.  Understandable.  We kept smiles for all and asked how people were doing resident or visitor.

Dr. Judy suggested we go to one of the churches.  We got in the truck and went to New Hope Community Church.  There were news crews outside, but we walked past them withut a word, finding our Billy Graham friends inside.  We sat in the back waiting for services to begin when we noticed a news crew filming within the sanctuary.  TACKY and DISRESPECTFUL.  We noticed a reservation among the people until the crews exited.

That’s when the tears flowed.

Most of the right side of the church were parishioners.  They all knew someone killed, and some of their children escaped.  They started venting their anger, frustration, hurt, fears and we listened.  At one point, Jann went to the truck and got Puffs, distributing them amonst the teary-eyed attendants.  We heard so many stories of pain.  One woman was wailing in the foyer, saying she was a bad mother for not knowing how to talk to her kids about this.  I reassured her that healing will come in due time, and she will find the words, and to not lose hope.  This community needed to feel love and support and I’m so glad we could be of comfort.

On the ride home, we shared notes and made an assessment.  This community will need long term healing.  They are a spiritual people, with several churches, synagogues and  mosques.  It seemed this communtiy did everything right.  What went wrong?  Could they have prevented this?  What will they do, what will the children do?

Part two will answer more and tell more.  For now, I need to recuperate physically.  The mental is ready.

cj newtown

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3 Responses to “The Person Inside of Us, Part One.”

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The Red Cross, like many hospitals & their staff, forget about the need for humanity; they’re inundated & have become desensitized to the needs of compassion. Glad to know you made a positive impact. Not surprised to know you anticipated needs & addressed them.

Love your three takeaways from the fab 12.12.12 event.

Look forward to more on #Newtown

Love the three thoughts from the fab 12.12.12 event! Amen to those, sista!

Looking forward to more on #Newtown!


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