By Susan Lesh
I returned to Leonia’s Women’s March this year.
I loved hearing all women’s voices as speakers.
I loved seeing the children sitting grouped around the microphone, many of them eventually making their way to the nearby playground equipment, but still within earshot.
I loved listening to a 9-year-old girl talk about her empowerment at school and looking to her mom as a role model. There is nothing so empowering as handing a child a microphone. I think we at Ethical do a good job with that. Our weekly joys and concerns allow all in the community to share what is happening in our lives. Our festivals include everyone in our candle lighting and sharing. What better way for children to see that they are taken seriously when everyone in the room listens to what they are saying?
I know there is much division happening in the leadership of the marches in New Jersey and New York. I think it’s really important to allow everyone a voice, to give everyone a seat at the table. We have to remember, though, that we can do more together than when broken into smaller groups. That’s the tricky part. How does everyone keep that in mind? People need to be aware of unconscious bias, treat each other respectfully, listen fully when others are speaking, and work on finding common ground. These aspirations are difficult to accomplish when in a small group and much harder when in larger groups. The bottom line, however, is that we have to keep talking.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.