by Brian Romero, Diocese of Long Island
It has been said that behind every great man is a great woman. But I would like to argue that beside every great man is an amazing woman. All of my life I have owed my great experiences and opportunities to the strong support of my mother and other maternal figures and positive role models (who are women). During my week here at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women I have witnessed many testimonies, learned a lot about the United Nations, global policy in relation to women’s rights and the Episcopal Church. Through the participation in parallel events, state mission briefings, caucus meetings, UN sessions and side events various subjects have been related to the important social issue that is gender equality. Some of these subjects have been mobile technology and maternal mortality, access to science and technology (and the education of them) for the increase of women’s opportunities, the relation to education and training for women to obtain “decent work” etc. It was clear that our time in New York City was a time of learning about things that we had not learned about in many other settings. The several events have also been facilitated, paneled and presented by women who are Non-governmental organization administrators, clergy, scholars in all types of fields, scientists, community leaders, public health officials etc.
Women also showed up to the UNCSW from all kinds of walks of life and with different histories and experiences to share with others. One way this occurred was in a dinner and conversation with Episcopal young women superstars: Sarah Eagleheart, Officer of Native American & Indigenous Ministries at the Episcopal Church, Mary Getz, Grassroots and Communications Coordinator of the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) and Nicole Sieferth, in the Communications office of Trinity Church on Wall Street, NYC. In the delegation’s conversation with the young women we heard stories of perseverance, discernment, deep Christian faith, formation and success. It was perhaps during these conversations that the most inspiring of voices touched us, showing us that like our arrival to the UNCSW we would have many other places to visit and callings to follow in our futures. Throughout our time this week there has also been a consensus that we didn’t know our multinational, multiethnic and multiracial Church did so much for social and economic justice in the world. Offices we had never heard of took us by surprise and initiatives the Church took part or created pulled us in to learn more and want to be involved in many more ways.
Great words have been spoken here at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, partnerships have been made, friends have been introduced and the word of the Gospel has been shared. Things that can’t be taught in books and emotions that can’t be fully expressed in words have touched us all. Two great lessons have especially popped up for me: follow your heart (mission) and don’t take yourself too seriously or be hard on yourself. Those morals could not have been arrived at without new friends. I am speaking of course specifically about the 9 other delegates in the Episcopal Young Adult Delegation. Thank you Grace, Michelle, Sarah, Shannon, Maddie, Gregory, Carrie, Rachel and Pauline. I am also thankful to the Conveners of the delegation, Jason Sierra and Patricia Egebert. How this week has shaped us all will be for the future to tell in the many missions we will follow to love and serve the Lord.