March 8, 2012, dawned sunny and warm in New York. It was a perfect day for our Join Me on the Bridge event in celebration of International Women’s Day. This year’s event was focused on the plight of the women in Congo.
The day began in Cadman Plaza Park, where hundreds gathered on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. WBLL Executive Director and event organizer, Norma Loeb, opened the day with inspiring words about our 100,000 Voices Project on behalf of the women of Congo. She introduced Zainab Salbi of Women for Women, International, who spoke passionately about the need for women to stand together. Reverend Kathleen Casserly prepared us to walk the bridge together with moving words that inspired deep connection.
From there, people walked across the bridge in conversation and conscious connection. When we reached the Manhattan side, we gathered in City Hall Park for a full program of performers and speakers. The program included Carla Goldstein of the Women’s Institute at Omega, Bibiane Tshefu of WILPF-NY;s Congolese Women’s Justice Project, Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough, Susan Davis, founder of BRAC, Arthur Lundquist of NOW, Myron Rolle of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Victoria Pannell of Youth Move. Twelve-year-old Victoria’s impassioned plea on behalf of the Congolese women was a highlight of the event.
In addition to the speakers, music was provided by the Manhattan Girls Chorus and Michelle Cleary who sang original songs composed for the event.
We hope the day will serve as a catalyst to deeper conversation and action on behalf of the women of Congo and all women globally.
Liz Gannon-Graydon, Co-Founder of What BETTER Looks Like
Myron Rolle, Pittsburg Steeler/ Rhodes Scholar
Zainab Salbi, Founder of Women For Women International
Victorial Pannell of Youth Move
Congolese Community of Central New York
The Manhattan Girls Chorus
Attendees from Northport High School
PHOTOS COURTESY ANDREA REESE © 2012