This past week I had the opportunity to present at the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute’s (IBWPPI) Annual Retreat in Southhampton, Bermuda. While there, we met with an intimate group of women leaders representing five countries across the globe. I had the honor of being one of the workshop presenters. My session was toward the end of the retreat so I’d spent the days learning and growing from the inspirational women present. Right before I took the stage, I remember thinking “What in the world am I doing here? Who let me in this room with these women? What if they find out I don’t really know what I’m doing?” Almost immediately, I read over some notes I took during previous sessions. It occurred to me. We’re all in the fight toward justice – together. No one is above, beneath or below the other. God allowing me to enter the room and take a seat at the table is in spite of me, not because of me. Like one of my Haitian sisters said during her presentation, “The load is much lighter when we carry it together.” So with that, I grabbed mic and the rest is HERstory.
Below are some learnings from the retreat, and from the moments leading up to my presentation:
1. Have presence. Any room you enter, believe that you’re supposed to be there…because you are.
2. Sit down. When The Lord prepares a table before you, you’ve only to have a seat. And feast.
3. Respect your elders. I journeyed with my village (IBWPPI): a group of 15 women I love and adore, who (after God) can take all the credit for the woman I am today. They’re not old enough to be my elders, but I respect them as such. When they call, I come.