Last year, I felt compelled to march. Like many, I was disoriented by the November 2016 elections and felt that I MUST DO SOMETHING. It was a fantastic experience. I felt a part of an enormous group; it registered in my core that women were standing up in harmony. Some were angry and shouting, some were scathing in their humorous signs, some were walking quietly arm in arm, some chanted, some talked. All looked forward, all propelled forward. I felt a release as we came to the end of the line and calmly dispersed. I left with a wonderful positive energy, seeing there was work to be done but knowing that we were not alone.
There continues to be a massive amount of work to be done and the time came to sign up again this year. I joined a local march in Leonia this year. It was a very different feel, but one that nevertheless again left me with a wonderful positive energy. There were many children at this march and it was quieter, until we got to the park. The speakers were from the Leonia Action Alliance, all residents of Leonia, and all young (well, younger than me!), many with children. It was exciting to hear their energy, their passion. The playground noises were in the background—life goes on—we CAN tweak the direction if we stand together.
Out of this energy came the #metoo movement, which continues with fallout in surprising places. I, like many, many women, have had #metoo moments. We are strong; hear our voices. “Education is the movement from darkness to light” (American philosopher Allan Bloom) and our Ethical Culture Society provides education to shed light. I have had the privilege to engage with our children about relationships and sexuality when teaching the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum. These honest, open dialogues and activities can change the world, one human at a time. The change to these young people can be profound. And I am so proud to be part of what Ethical Culture can do to affect the future.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.