marettaThank you for attending the


I am writing to thank you for attending our forum “Gender and Race Based Violence In Times Like These,” organized by the Women of Color and Allies Essex County NOW Chapter and the NOW-NJ Combating Racism Task Force.

It was gratifying to see that the room was filled to capacity and that many participated in our question and answer sessions.  I hope you were able to gain some insight into this issue while getting to know other like-minded activists.

Gender and race based violence has always been a part of our society. Personally, I learned from the forum that those who are victims may suffer in ways that may not be visible to us. That is why it is so important for us to hold on to humility and be humble when a person we makes us feel bad and try to keep compassion for others. We are often unaware of what the victim’s “blues” are or that they are victims at all because the pain has lingered hidden inside their souls and in their minds for so long that it is not revealed until something said or done strikes a responsive chord.  When that happens, the victim’s emotions rise, they may change their behavior and become surprisingly belligerent, and totally lose their composure. Most discussions regarding violence have strategically included blaming the victims by accusing them of being in the wrong.

It is important for us to empathize with others even if we don’t live where they live or look the way they look.  They are still human beings. These are dangerous times for a great many of us. That means people are experiencing fear, lack of health insurance, depression, unemployment, despair, and no faith in the future, which makes it more difficult to be compassionate and understanding. We must be mindful of the things we say and do. I know it can be difficult because I often “blow it” myself. We must remember the words of Maya Angelou who said, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  And the words of Miller Williams “Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don't want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”

Let us love our sisters and brothers and keep humility and compassionate deep down in our hearts where the spirit meets the bone during rising incidents of gender and race violence in times like these.

Love Ya and Happy Holidays,

Maretta J. Short -President