Connecting on a higher plane these days...at some level, always
have. So many words have fallen into place without effort or plan.
They are me, though, and it seems that they speak to you. If my words
make one person look at something from another's perspective, touch the
soul of another, or simply bring a smile to an otherwise unremarkable
day, that is a success. I am grateful for the opportunity.
Waiting for life to kick in and take its direction. Taking so
long - healing time - much needed and cherished. Reality has heavily
set in but ready to push through the challenges to get on with it.
There is much more to discover. Much more to do.
"The reason you want every single thing that
you want, is because you think you will feel really good when you get there.
But, if you don't feel really good on your way to there, you can't get there.
You have to be satisfied with what-is while you're reaching for more."
“Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds
and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes -
every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul
of man.”~ Orison Swett Marden
Our bodies heal broken bones by forming a bone scar that
makes that point stronger than it ever was.It’s painful, but the pain subsides.What about a broken heart?
In the process of healing a broken bone, “it must be
reset and then be protected in a cast to allow the body's automatic and natural
healing processes to occur.If the bone
is not reset straight, then it will grow back crooked. If it is not given enough time to rest,
protected in a cast, it will remain weak.Likewise, if the protective cast is never taken off, the bone will never
fully become strong again. Similar warnings apply to the process of healing a
broken heart.” ~John Gray in Mars
and Venus Starting Over
“No one ever talks about the moment
you found that you were white.
Or the moment you found out you were black.
That's a profound revelation.
The minute you find that out, something happens.
You have to renegotiate everything.”
~ Toni Morrison
I remember very well the day I
realized I was white.I grew up in a
suburb of New Haven, Connecticut in the 1960’s when school bussing became an experiment
in society equalization.Sometime during
first, second or third grade, the school year began with “the” busses pulling
in to my elementary school driveway, filled with little kids.I remember looking at their petrified little
faces and remember everyone stopping to watch as they piled out.There seemed to be many extra parents hanging
around that day.I remember watching the
principal and the administration scurrying around to make sure they were
welcomed.The adults seemed to be acting
strangely in my memory.
I am told that the bussing continued
for a few years.A friend reminded me
that the upper grade kids did experience some conflicts during recess.I honestly don’t remember any issues on the
lower grades’ playground, but I don’t recall a ton of intermingling.I remember well, though, that I did not
understand why these poor kids were at our school.And why anyone thought it was a good idea for
them to be bussed a good 30-45 minutes into little Cheshire, Connecticut.Every morning when I saw the busses, I
thought about how tired they must be.What
I knew for sure is that I was different than them.Maybe they were special.Maybe we were lucky.There was talk of some of us being bussed to
their school in New Haven, apparently.That never happened.Either way,
they were black and we, I learned, were white.
What it all meant then, I can barely
comprehend in retrospect.As a witness
to this tiny piece of history, I will never forget their scared little faces
and my thoughts about the absurdity of school bussing.I wish I could speak with them now….
Stock photo featuring Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and Charlton Heston at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC
I grew up during the time of the second wave of the Women’s Movement. The campaigns of the early 1960’s through the 1980’s focused on cultural and political inequalities, critical was the issue of discrimination. From first-hand experience, I deeply comprehended the transformation of our society through the differences within my own family. My grandmother’s generation was clearly that of the housewife, the working women situational. My mother’s generation changed before my eyes, a mix of housewives and housewives turned working women. By the time my own generation was graduating from high school, the path toward the work world was paved with our fantasies of equality. All these years later, obviously, many things have changed for women. Growing up, I could never have imagined that inequality would still exist in any form. Yet, it does.
Today is Equal Pay Day which is “the day when the typical woman’s wages catch up to those her male counterpart was paid the previous year.”  “American women who work full time, year round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. This gap in earnings translates into $10,784 less per year in median earnings, leaving women and their families shortchanged. The wage gap is even more substantial when race and gender are considered together, with African-American women making only 62 cents, and Hispanic women only 54 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act as well as other civil rights laws has helped to narrow the wage gap over time, it is critical for women and their families that the significant pay disparities that remain are addressed.” 
Again, my first-hand experience has offered me opportunities to witness this disparity from a variety of perspectives. In direct payroll positions in various businesses, the disparity is apparent. Even more distinct, however, is the fact that salaries for those positions traditionally filled by women continue to be much lower than those traditionally filled by men, although these position are vital to business. I have witnessed the dishonest methods of those frustrated by this fact. As a supervisor, I have had to fight to raise the pay scale of my employees. Being a single mother, I have lived with the consequences of the wage gap. Our next generation has, as well.
Within these experiences, I have witnessed some improvement and have held hope that my daughter’s generation would benefit from a further recognition of women in our society. More importantly, I held hope that we would value equality of all people. Now I must look to the generation of my grandchildren, knowing that each successive generation will make strides. Idealistic? Perhaps. But if you find yourself in a position to make a difference in the wage gap, make the effort. Our society will be better off in the end.