by Jean Gant Delastrada
WWFOR Fall Retreat Coordinator
This question came up over and over at the WWFOR 2020 Fall Retreat –
What’s Next? Moving Into the Great Turning
Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan Simpson, the Executive Director of FOR-USA, emphasized that people need to talk about the hard issues with others in their communities and in their families, regardless of their politics.
Bill Moyer, from the Backbone Campaign, talked about new ways for activists to impact our society, beyond holding up signs saying what we want and believe in.
Dr. Karen Johnson, equity and social justice consultant from Olympia,asked “Are You Next?”, and gave a dynamic call for us all to work together with Black Lives Matter for racial justice.
Joanna Macy’s Three Stories and the Work that Reconnects offered a framework for responding to the challenge of the present Great Unravelling. In a current video clip, the 91 year old ecosystems activist spoke to the challenges of our present time.
We ended the day with “Voices of the Future”, a panel about the current work and future goals of some young activists from our Mike Yarrow Peace Fellowship Program.
This Zoom retreat brought 122 registrants, who expressed high interest in all the issues we asked about: Racial Justice, Climate Action, Indigenous People, Homeless and Displaced Persons, Covid-19, and Nuclear Weapons. All received resources on how to work on these issues now, despite the pandemic. We missed the fellowship of our usual face-to-face retreat, but the 75 – plus registrants who attended online had opportunities to ask questions of the speakers, and to meet in small groups in breakout rooms to discuss their reactions.
We went away with a strong message of the importance of community, connecting on a grassroots level to communicate and work together for a sustainable society in the year ahead.