Posted by: joshjasper | May 16, 2009

Band of Brothers

Yesterday I attended a conference in Cedar Falls titled “Engaging men in preventing and taking a stand against gender violence.”  The conference included speakers that traveled from Canada and San Francisco, and covered a wide variety of subjects focusing on involving men in violence prevention.

I felt fortunate to learn a great deal throughout the course of the day, while networking with individuals throughout the country.  The training was also a great reminder that there are a lot of men and women out there that are as passionate as I am about ending violence against women.  Going into the day my hope and objective was to not only better familiarize myself with these individuals, but to begin the discussion of how we can continue this dialogue throughout the state and country after the conference ends.  Too often I have left a training and was excited to begin the work only to find myself left empty handed with no plan and no support system.

To not have a concrete plan and support system in place when tackling something like men’s violence against women is insane.

After the training I had the opportunity to meet with a few key individuals at the university along with a number of the speakers from the training.  While I sat at the table with these individuals, I felt my like I was being refueled.  As I sat at the table listening to each person share their ideas as to where we go from here while contributing my own thoughts, I felt as if I were hearing myself time and time again.  I thought to myself that this might be what others experience in our community when they meet with me and hear my passion about this work.  I was inspired to say the least.

As we all sat there celebrating the success from the day, I began to feel a sense of unity.  This feeling took me back to when I was in the Marines and how so often we were faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks.  When faced with this adversity, we relied on our fellow Marine.  We pushed forward into the unknown because we had each other.  As I reflect back on the day, it is clear that we have created something much bigger than a few people dreaming out loud.  We have created our own band of brothers and sisters in this important work.

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