The Braid

Submitted on May 10, 2018 by  KatieAdsila

I just spent four days with the most amazing and inspirational women as I have ever known. Yes, I attended PWN-USA's Speak Up 2018 National Leadership Summit for Women, where for three days we not only were educated in intensive and informative work groups but we also came together in a strong bond of sisterhood and solidarity. That sisterhood and solidarity is a beautiful and powerful part of PWN’s organization.


While I was at the conference a woman gave me three strings that were tied together at one end, after I got home I sat down and reflected on my experience with my sisters during the conference when I noticed the three strings sitting on my desk next to me so I picked them up and started to braid them together. I honestly don’t know why I was given the strings or the significance that they were meant to represent but as I braided them together I thought of my own significance for them. I thought of PWN’s motto, "Sisterhood, Solidarity and Action". I thought about what that meant, what it means to me, it’s a phrase that I’ve seen since I met PWN but have never really thought about at length. I don't know who came up with it but it's very catchy lol.


Consider Sisterhood for a moment, what exactly is it? A look at the dictionary gives several descriptions: an organization, community or network of women with a common interest, a congenial relationship or companionship among women, mutual female esteem, concern and/or support, the friendship, sodality, sorority, unity of women based on shared conditions. It almost sounds like PWN has someone working on the inside at Merriam-Webster lol. These words and definitions suits and describes PWN to a tee, but as I read these definitions I see something else as well, I see love. You can have common interests, congenial relationships, mutual esteem and/or shared conditions, but without a healthy dose of love the bonds won't last long, or at least won't be as strong.


Now let's take a look at Solidarity, looking in the dictionary again I find: union, community and/or fellowship arising from common responsibilities, feelings, purposes, interests, objectives and/or standards. While the thesaurus gives us: agreement, alliance, consensus, harmony, indivisibility, oneness, teamwork, unification and uniformity. Those are great descriptions as well and almost sounds strikingly like sisterhood, so what's the difference between the two? My personal opinion is, where as, one seems like love to me, I think solidarity has more to do with dedication. I mean, how do you have unity or community, alliance or harmony, teamwork or indivisibility without dedication to one another? Of course, that's just my opinion.

Now finally, let's explore the word Action. Action is energetic activity, to effect or influence, an exertion of power or force, to engage, a powerful reaction, a response. This is exactly what PWN does, they engage energetically and powerfully, they respond forcefully to influence and effect change where change is needed. As I look at these descriptions of action and consider who PWN is, I think of the word fierce. It takes courage to act, but a level of fierce determination to succeed. Perhaps this is another reason why PWN is so successful, because if they are anything, it's fierce.


Looking at these three definitions I can see that PWN chose their words very well to describe themselves and what they stand for. Dedicated women who care for one another, and others like themselves, saw a desperate need and chose to powerfully respond together with love, dedication and commitment for each other and their cause. Just as a braid makes three strings stronger together than on their own so do these three ideas make PWN the powerful organization that they are. Giving strength and support to one another so that no one woman stands alone in her fight to effect change. With sisterhood and solidarity they take action in order to make us all stronger and more capable to face and take on the injustices that threaten our rights, our autonomy, our very lives. and I for one am ever grateful for that.


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