Why I Stand on a Bridge
On March 8, International Women”s Day, women around the world will gather on bridges as part of Women for Women International”s Join me on the Bridge campaign. The campaign began in 2010 when women from Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo, in the middle of a violent civil war, joined together on a bridge connecting their countries to call for peace. In acts of solidarity, women and men all across the globe joined them, and continue to do so each year, demanding an end to the violence, and symbolizing that we can build bridges of peace.
I remember reading about the campaign for the first time two years ago. My eyes stung with tears as I read that the women in Congo and Rwanda would meet on a bridge connecting their countries to call for peace amidst the war. It was only as these tiny tears turned into huge dollops rolling down my cheeks that I realized something big was happening. What was it? And how could I respond especially since I felt so powerless- what could I really do?
It was weird because I remember feeling no doubt that I would respond, but also feeling full of doubt as to what I could do.In that moment I felt small and helplessyet alive and emboldened.
All my thoughts going, “you”ve never organized an event like this, you don”t know what it”s like to live with war raging around you, you can”t change anything,’ -they got trumped. On that day, I choose to listen to the knowing in my body, and despite the event being only a week out, I began to plan a small gathering on our beach walkover bridge. On March 8, 2010, nearly 50 women showed up and I got a taste for what happens when you choose to experience yourself in a new way. The world changes. It can be experienced in a new way too. Maybe that was what touched me so deeply when I read about the Congolese and Rwandan women. Their act was extraordinary in that despite their outer circumstances, they could choose to see things radically different. They could imagine peace. They could imagine what might happen when we connect with one another.
I like to think it was my future self- the one who stood atop the Acosta Bridge in downtown Jacksonville on March 8, 2011, arm raised in celebration- who pulled me toward her that day I sat in tears at my computer. The one who saw that the world can be the place that I”ve always sensed it could be.
When we show up, when we listen to the whispers of life, we begin to consciously co-create the future, and like the women in Congo, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia and everywhere the women are standing on bridges, I can create a unified, peaceful and compassionate future for humanity.