About a month ago my middle daughter, Sydney, was asked to perform at a women’s charity event in Boulder. I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled about the idea only because it was during the week, 90 minutes away without traffic (there is always traffic), and she was leaving the next day on a school trip. I hadn’t even factored in the rehearsals in Boulder the weekend before. Let’s not even discuss the fact that we spent the night in a college apartment in Boulder over 4/20 weekend! That’s another blog!
However, as our children often do, she said yes and pushed me to the brink of what I thought our schedule could handle.
AND IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!
Let me just say that the only thing I knew about this event before my arrival was that it was for the Zonta Club of Boulder. Zonta International has been around since 1919 and is an organization that empowers women all over the world through service and advocacy. Seeing as though I could get behind that, I bought a ticket for myself and my oldest since she lives a hop, skip and a jump away from the venue. I was not prepared for the amazing women that we encountered during the rehearsals and the event. I am not talking about women who get up and give eloquent speeches or who are working for Fortune 500 companies. I am talking about women just like you and me. Women who stumble over their words and their spanx are showing when they get on stage, but you don’t care because you can see right into their soul as soon as they begin speaking. These women embraced my daughter and me like they had known us for years. They dressed her for the event, fed her, bedazzled her with jewelry, showered her with kindness and then gave her flowers to thank her for performing. I felt like we should be thanking them. Isn’t that how these things usually go? You set out to support something and then you are the one who receives the gift.
I don’t know if I can convey what happened in that room last night, but I am going to try. The evening began with a cocktail hour, which I spent mostly chatting with my oldest and some of the other moms whose daughters were also performing. We had a nice dinner and then a few women associated with Zonta spoke briefly.
That’s all it took.
The first woman introduced herself and spoke for a mere 3 minutes. In that time she shared that her daughter had been murdered the day after her 21st birthday by her ex-boyfriend. She explained how she found solace in joining Zonta and founded her own organization in honor of her daughter, Abby’s Voice. This organization educates young men and women in high school and college about the warning signs of domestic violence.
Then my daughter was introduced and she began her set with “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. There was an energy in that room and it was increasing by the moment. Three other beautiful, young girls also took the stage to perform their girl power songs. The four girls ended the music portion of the event with a fabulous version of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.
They even jumped off the stage and had the whole room on their feet singing and clapping. I know that one of these girls was mine, but seeing these girls ages 10-18 come together on that stage was summed up best by the MC, Rockin’ Robin. She said, “I can think of nothing more powerful than a young girl on stage using her voice to empower other women. That is why we are here, to teach young women to use their voice.”
Can I get an Amen?
As if all of this was not enough before we left the mother of the young woman who had been murdered came to speak to us. I thanked her for sharing her story and shared my admiration for her bravery and advocacy. There really are no words that could adequately convey the respect and deep emotion that I was feeling for this woman and then she grabbed Sydney by the shoulders, looked her in the eyes and thanked her for sharing her music, her voice and her time. She said, “always listen to your voice and your intuition. When you are dating never let a man talk you out of what your gut says. If there are warning signs…run the other direction. You are strong, beautiful and your voice always matters.”
Women supporting women…the way it should be.