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#Vernon Jordan – Rest in Peace surrounded by God’s love!

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

by: Marceline Donaldson

It is a harsh experience to have so many friends leaving this earth and so quickly one behind the other.

Vernon Jordan is someone I have not seen nor spoken to for years. Although I have thought about him often as the memories of working together on a civil rights action comes back to mind.

Somehow, we think life goes on forever and we will all be close on earth to meet again tomorrow, or the day after.

I knew Vernon Jordan from sometimes in the 1960’s in just a passing kind of way to smile and say hello.

In the early 1970’s I got to know him much better because NOW (National Organization for Woman) and the National Urban League came together to sponsor a boycott against General Mills.

I was on the NOW National Board at the time and wound up chairing the boycott.

Esther Kaw, from Minneapolis developed a beautiful booklet which described the life of a young black girl from birth through college in terms of the General Mills products she would have used and/or her parents would have used for her. She and Roberta Petit developed that booklet and more so those who agreed with what we were doing had postcards to send to the company expressing their feelings and additional materials with which they could pledge to not use General Mills products.

NOW decided, along with the National Urban League, to bring forward this boycott given the many people who called us and told us their story interacting with General Mills in the process of trying to get a job and more.

In the early to mid-1970’s there were almost no African Americans working at General Mills, especially in management and marketing, and very few in the hourly wage areas. We won’t even talk about the make-up of their board of directors.

The women who worked there were in the General Mills kitchens or in the secretarial pool.

The material on the boycott can be seen through contacting Amistad in New Orleans, LA. where all of the papers we could collect on that history are stored and available to researchers, et al. If you have papers relevant to that action, we would appreciate your sending them to Amistad in care of Christopher Harter.

Vernon Jordan was head of the National Urban League at the time and we talked and met several times trying to put together and keep all of us moving along following a mutually agreed upon plan.

The last time I saw Vernon to talk for any length of time was at a meeting at General Mills which their president and CEO called to see if we couldn’t meet to resolve and end the boycott. The boycott was very successful and caused much stress with General Mills as well as with another company whose name was similar and who was getting some flack from those calling and writing to them to express themselves thinking they were contacting General Mills to express their grievances. The company ‘accidentally’ involved was beginning to lose business and they were super concerned that the loss didn’t continue and become exponentially larger.

That meeting, with Urban League people and NOW people who worked together on the boycott as the guiding committee was held at General Mills in their board room. It was an example of how I saw Vernon Jordan through the years and how, I think, he saw himself.

We were all assembled, waiting for Vernon to arrive – his plane was late. The Urban League people involved on this planning level along with the NOW people were sitting at a very large table all on one side. On the other side of the table sat the top General Mills Executives. I don’t remember all of them, but I do remember the CEO and President since I interacted with them at meetings of the Minneapolis Urban Coalition.

After a bit, Vernon arrived and literally took a seat. Vernon reached for a chair alongside the wall, drew it up to the table in the middle on the side with the General Mills Executives. Vernon in the middle with two or three executives on either side. As Vernon drew his chair up to the table the General Mills executives seeing where he was going very graciously moved their chairs so there would be room for Vernon’s chair in the middle.

Having been incorrigible since birth I couldn’t stifle a laugh and then couldn’t stop laughing. A frown from Mr. Jordan helped me gather myself back together.

After the meeting, taking Vernon to the airport, we talked about that meeting and, of course, he wanted to know what was so funny. I had to tell him what came to mind when he entered and took ‘his’ seat. The picture, very commonplace which we all know – no matter our religion – was the picture of Jesus and his disciples at the last supper.

I don’t know why that image came to mind, but when it did the laughter started again.

From that time on I watched Vernon Jordan move from one step on the ladder to the next higher and he did it with such aplomb. There were missteps along the way, but he was always able to dust off that misstep on the ladder and keep moving on up.

I’ve told that story many times. Didn’t ever think in that process I would be writing it as a memory on the occasion of Vernon Jordans death to remember his life, the work he did and the example he set for African American achievement .

Vernon, may you find joy, happiness and so much more as you wander around heaven getting used to your new surroundings. Hope you also have a brief time with the General Mills executives with whom you met that day and helped to bring about more opportunity for women and minorities.

amen and amen!

To Wear a Mask or go Maskless says what about you?

Monday, January 25th, 2021

by: Marceline Donaldson

I am old enough to remember and to have been through the campaigns against smoking.

When it was discovered that smoking caused cancer and even second hand smoke could damage the health of the person inhaling another persons’ cigarette smoke, it was quite a brawl. Sort of like the one we are having with masks or going without a mask. The arguments are the same and the people I have encountered without a mask are the same people who refused to give up blowing smoke into the environment of those who don’t smoke.

What is also amazing is that these are the same people who refuse to give up their identity as “better than.”

Your identity is basic to your being. To have been raised with an identity which claims you are “better than” and experience that as comfortable and that by which you live and move and have your being and by defining others as “less than”, as people who owe you their agreement to stay in “their place” and not disturb the outer, better, larger environment where the “better than” thrive, is a soul destroying thing.

Once upon a time, many years ago, I was on the National Board of NOW. At that time, the law suits and one push was on stopping people (actually men) – (actually white men) from smoking cigars on airplanes because the exhaust and replenish system on the airlines could not effectively remove all of the smoke and other pollutants which such smoking put into the air. Only one or two people were needed to smoke cigars on the plane in which you were traveling to cause problems for everyone else. That, according to the science coming out, not only caused health issues with everyone, but created an extremely uncomfortable environment for those flying.

It was a pitched battle. Finally, after many resources spent – time, money, etc. – the airlines decided to eliminate cigar smoking on planes. That was an incredible victory.

Later, the battle began to eliminate cigarette smoking as the scientific papers were published about the damage cigarettes could do to the human body. That battle was worse than the one around cigars. The cigar smokers just started smoking cigarettes on planes instead of their beloved and deadly instruments of disease.

Gradually, the fight was and still is being won as people today have to deal with even apartment buildings which now say if you live in that particular apartment building and are a smoker you have to agree to smoke outside and not in your own apartment building for which you pay substantial amounts of rent.

Restaurants were another place where the battle against smoking inside the restaurant raged. It was won and people started moving to eat in the “bar” side of the restaurant so they could smoke while eating. The war against smoking found them and today even those in bars can’t smoke inside the bar, but must go outside for their favorite bit of poison.

When that fight was raging I was at IBM. They had a thing where you had to go to Atlanta, GA. for six weeks of training before you could sell those wonderful machines. In the training classes people, of course, could smoke. Light up anytime and foul the air for those in the class who found that a horribly filthy and very uncomfortable habit.

We fought that in many ways. During my class time, success was not gained, but in subsequent classes smoking was outlawed in the classroom. One had to go outside to smoke. So progress does happen. It happens excruciatingly slow and people lose their lives and health in the process, but it happens.

One action we took, as an aside, was to also challenge IBM’s inviolable “dress for success” class and rules. On one of the last days of class we arrived (females, of which there were almost none), in MuMu’s, hair in large curlers, no make-up and slippers. The men arrived (not all, but many) with their jockey shorts over their dress pants and cut off t-shirts over their dress shirts. It was hysterical and great fun, but produced no change in IBM’s dress rules or the necessity of taking such a class.

What is it about human beings and the human spirit that everything must be as we are and everyone must live according to how we live and want life to be. We change facts to accommodate our comfort zone and claim we have the “right” in this country to jeopardize the health of and make uncomfortable and even denigrate and destroy those who aren’t like us?

Those who don’t live our lifestyle? Those who insist on refusing to change when the growing body of science shows us problems which we could address and make better with some simple changes of our lifestyle? We prefer to demand our “rights” to do things harmful to others while totally overlooking the other persons’ “right” to be safe and more. Doesn’t that come from our basic need to be “better than”? The belief system, culture and more that many would rather died for than give up and change.

If we are “better than” our neighbors, friends and all others then we can go about without a mask because we find wearing a mask uncomfortable, not pretty or stylish and all the other reasons we have thrown up. We do not want to become comfortable wearing a mask because it is our “right” to go around without one. Isn’t it interesting how we can demand what we consider our rights, even when those rights that we claim jeopardize the health and well being of others?

It is no mistake that we elected a man who exemplifies all of that and demands his rights over all other human beings? The man who demands to be top of the heap and all others are under him accepting what he doles out to them and for which they are grateful. How come we do all of that? What is there in the human spirit which thinks that is great. We join wild groups because they reinforce the identity we are on the verge of losing – “better than”.

That “better than” need is more lethal than the most terminal and painful of cancers. Yet we insist on living through that kind of culture and that kind of life.

That “better than” need led our ancestors to euthanize attempt to exterminate American Indians. It allowed and encouraged us to use slavery to build these United States. Used the Chinese in a slavery kind of structure to build our railroads – and all through we use denial so we don’t have to acknowledge what we have done and are doing to the detriment of ourselves and others.

To care for others. To be concerned about those with whom we live on this planet doesn’t take much.

An example from my IBM experience shows the difference. I lived in Ambassador Andrew Young’s house while I was in training at IBM. I could not live in the townhouse apartments right next to the classes during that time because I had two young children with me. They had me and I had them and wherever I went they went for all the years of their growing up.

It was difficult driving the 30 to 45 minus to class each day instead of walking a short distance to the classes. It was horrendous trying to figure out and find ways of making sure they were taken care of during the day. That would have been simple had I been able to live in the housing provided by IBM, It took a lot away from my time and ability to really get into the training – although I did a respectable job of it.

No one at IBM cared about the situation I was trying to handle. Men were the main people in those training classes. Men had wives at home who stayed there and took care of the children and anything else that needed to be taken care of because society looked at that as the job of women.

Towards the end of my time in training at IBM, I had caused such an upheaval that a couple people turned their attention to seeing what they could do to make things right.

My girls were learning horse back riding during that period of time so the IBM people found a camp not far away which had young people – about the ages of mine – who lived at the camp and followed their program of learning to ride, show and jump horses. That was a near miracle. I picked up the girls on the weekends and we went ‘home’ and were able to do touristy things satisfying to all.

How wonderful if IBM had put together a few people who gathered such possibilities for people in my situation so my time during training could have been more productively spent. It didn’t take a lot, just caring. Their response, at the time, was to eliminate people like me because it was too much to include us and much better to carry forth the “better than” attitude.

The caring that is missing amongst the people who refused to smoke outside; who wanted to smoke while in class; and so much more.

There were only two or three people in those classes who smoked. They, however, made the room unbelievably uncomfortable and dangerous to the health of the rest of us. The same attitude prevails among people who refuse to wear masks. One would think that past ones time as a rebellious teenager, the need to “prove” things would have abated.

All of those folks have something in common – their identity, which contains the strong belief that they are “better than” the rest of us and why should they accommodate. What a wonderful change in this world when and if they are able to do show some kind of caring for others where there is no payback that they can see for themselves.

“Better than” is a vicious philosophy by which to live. It is incredibly destructive of the human soul as it takes hold of ones personality, character, lifestyle and makes them so incredibly ugly to the rest of society. “Better than” so blinds us as humans that we can’t even see how negative is the way such people are seen by others.

May God forgive your sins against one another and give you the ability to open your hearts in a caring, healing, wonderful way to experience this life as it was intended to be experienced, not to experience it within the confines of a lifestyle with ways of living and choices which lead to a life of denial which leads to a life of lying, cheating, etc. etc.

Bettina Network Lifestyle Members Comments

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019

ONE MEMBERS COMMENTS:

So much talk about Attorney General Barr. It is clear we give credit to people who have foul ethics and carry them along making excuses for their failings. In the case of Barr it is crystal clear that his family is the reason Jeffrey Epstein was foisted on this society. Epstein was given his start by Barr, Sr. giving him a job teaching young children in an elegant private school where he was served a banquet he could drool over for months and it was a gift because Epstein was totally unqualified for the job. No degree, experience, etc. All the qualifications expected of someone in such a position were missing. So what did he have that qualified him in the eyes of the Barr family?

And now we are lamenting how surprised we are that Attorney General Barr is showing his ethical and moral lacking? Please! Don’t waste my time. I don’t use ugly language often, but this is scum. We talk about WT? Here you have a real WT family going down the generations to maintain their spot at the top of that group!

To be surprised we even have to overlook what Barr did his last times serving as Attorney General. The same thing he is doing now only since he was recently called into action by someone whose ethics are so much more foul than the ethics of those he served before he has to expose himself and move into uglier waters to get results. We are the ones who need to shape up and clean up this society’s ethics and morals.

SECOND MEMBERS COMMENTS:

Questions are periodically raised about the “Christians” who are acting as though their religion is expected to produce great people. We have had so called “Christians” worshipping who they call their god on Sundays and even as far back as slavery and before with the Native Americans, they have been killing, maiming, hanging, oppressing, mutilating and totally destroying the lives of generations of Africans and others. Now we are destroying immigrant children’s lives and futures – that destruction is including murder.

I am just recently “Woke” and realize how much I benefitted from watching and doing nothing. I maintained a sense of myself as “better than” those designated as “less than” and I also had the greatness of designating myself as “much much better than” those doing the dirty work which allowed me to maintain myself above everybody else in this society.

It is an embarrassment and disgrace to have to make such an admission. As a member of Bettina’s I can do this without my name appearing. That is an act of cowardice, however, I am not quite ready to come out publicly. And when and if I do many others will have to come out with me.

THIRD MEMBER COMMENTS:

The presidential primary with Pete Buttigeig involved shows clearly what is happening within the Democrat Party. It has always been a party which recruits from movements. I have seen your comments on this blog about such. It recruited from the KKK in the early and into the mid-1900’s and was quite successful at that. They were involved in the ugliness of those White Nationalist groups.

That began to change in the 1950’s and 1960’s as it became clear that the movements of the day were diametrically opposed to what the Democrat Party was about. As the Black Civil Rights Movement and the Feminist Movement became stronger, it was clear the makeup of the Democrat Party would change and it did. It started recruiting from those movements and backing the people therein and became the party of the civil rights movements which is where it is today.

And now we have another change as the Gay Movement becomes stronger the Democrat Party can’t resist now recruiting in that movement and moving their goals into the Party. So the candidacy of Buttigeig and its success.

It is tragic that the first primary is Iowa – a very white state. Followed by New Hampshire – another very white state. If the Democrat Party is serious about its recruitment and those from whom it is recruiting members – it needs to be flexible with the order of its primaries and start someplace other than what has been their overall sequence. Through the order of their primaries across the country, that seems to be a throwback to their recruitment within the White Nationalist Group. The KKK and others still have an edge when it comes to the Democrat Presidential Primaries. They can’t make major changes, but they can keep their toe in the water through the primary ordering of which states go first and which down the road.

To show clearly and give voice to those being recruited into the Democrat Party they need to clear out the negativity of those they just stopped recruiting.

What a mess. We need a third Party soonest. So far, that has not been possible, the Republicans and Democrats come together on that point and seem to do everything they can to prevent such. It is time for that to stop and for all to see the advantage to this republic of the need to move from a republic to a democracy and that will only happen with the advent of a successful third Party.

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A CALL TO LOVE

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

by: Marceline Donaldson

My name is on this writing because it is time for all of us to come out of the shadows of shame and into the light with our truth. We have been attacked and are being attacked, apparently to shut us up.  Trying to destroy Bettina Network, inc. and me is keeping some few people busy.   However, we shall go on as long as we can.

Nothing you do –   nothing that others do to you – nothing in your life as you have lived it should be in even a small bit of shade.  Nothing should be pushed into that corner of your memories where you shove those things of which you are ashamed.  Clean them out!  Bring them out into the open.

Shame is what has allowed sin to fester and grow into the slime and horribleness that is showing all around us.  The most effective part of sexual abuse and sexual harassment and sexual assault is the shame which has been dumped on the victim by the victimizer and the society.  Isn’t that one large reason why it is so hard to recover from abuse, harassment and assault?

Society’s message is – SHUT UP – we don’t want to know what happened to you because it does not enhance the mythology we have created around this society for generations.

It is time for that message to be – OPEN UP, PLEASE.  We want all of this awfulness to come out into the light of day.  We want to know what happened to you.  We want you to know we love you, we understand, we are here for you as you work towards healing.  WE SUPPORT YOU.

To all victims of sexual abuse, harassment, assault, please share what happened to you we want to take a part of what you have gone through into ourselves to share that part of your life which we should have been there to help you with.  We are so sorry we were busy doing other things with other priorities that we could not be your support.

WE ARE HERE NOW!

HOW?

This “COMING OUT” – this “OUTCOMING” of Christine Balsey Ford needs to be a coming out for all women.

Her hearing needs to be the second stage of Congressional Hearings on the sufferings of women inflicted by men all over these United States.  In her case it is a coming out by telling the truth about someone who is a Republican Political Operative and was trained to be such to attain to and acquire glory and money and reputation in his field.  He needs to be saved and CHRISTine can offer him the opportunity to look at, hear and address his values before it is too late for all of us.

The Congressional Hearings need to be the beginnings of hearings by many groups around this country holding open hearings to which women are invited and supported in telling their stories and shining light into those dark corners we have kept musty, damp, full of all kind of germs which infect the soul.

Those hearings need to be held in an environment free of bullying, threats, and all the other uglinesses that were characteristic of Congress as exhibited during the hearings held to hear what happened to Anita Hill.  The conditions under which she had to suffer to be able to do the job she enjoyed, was qualified to do and which she did very well were replicated in those hearings.  That was not our finest hour.  Everything said about her carefully excluded her qualifications for the job she was doing and the incredibly efficient and substantial way she did her job.  The shame of those hearings even went to the Republican Congress people hiding and not allowing corroborating witnesses to appear.

The focus in all of these cases is on sex.  While sex is used as the weapon against women, it is really about power, control, greed and a sex drive completely distorted in ugly ways to serve bullying, over-aggressive, insecure males.

It is no accident that these happenings in Congress very much parallel and reflect what is happening in the Catholic Church.  The priests who have been sexual predators and those higher up in the Catholic Church trying to cover the sins committed very much reflect the Congressional people now trying to stifle, submerge, crucify and destroy CHRISTine.  Those same needs and urges are behind the way sexual predators in high places are handled by Congress and all the other “big dogs” in this society.

The thousands of children in the Catholic Church who were the victims of such sexual predatory priests are replaced in this society by women – their mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins.  And very soon, if we do not act to stop all of this, those women – as they have been in the Catholic Church –  will be replaced by our children.  That has already happened in the immigration area – Donald Trump and his administration are replicating the Nazi Concentration Camps with Immigration camps being designed to house children.  And those children will soon and are currently becoming the object of sexual predators.  Rape of the children is not uncommon in the structures Donald Trump has designed and which are coming to pass.  We have heard only the beginnings of such as the stories leak out.

Either we act now or this society is consigned to total corruption. Evangelical christians claim Donald Trump is being used as their gods instrument to bring about his view of the world.  It looks more like their god is named Satan and for him Donald Trump is doing an excellent job.

Regular weekly Congressional Hearings need to be set up to follow the hearing in which CHRISTine tells what happened to her and the planning for that needs to start NOW.

State Legislatures need to organize to take up from the U. S. Congress hearings in their areas where women are invited – supported – and where their stories are given wide national coverage as are the hearings being held in the U. S. Congress on a weekly basis and laws need to be drawn up from those hearings which allow and support us as we put sex out of the picture and acknowledge the humanity, the love, the work we can do together as a society without all of the power, control, greed tactics which are now structured into all of our institutions.

Universities need to take up the banner and hold such hearings for what happens on their campuses.  Sexual attacks, rapes, sexual abuse, sexual harassment needs to be outed in their hearings as well so our college campuses can be about the business of sharing knowledge and maybe even a bit of wisdom instead of shoring up their sexist and racist structures as their administration tries to figure out how to suppress women from coming forward to talk about what happened and is happening to them on these campuses, because that currently is looked upon as a failure of the school and a blot on its reputation so those in charge suppress and thereby provide fuel for the continuation of such attacks and uglinesses against women and against the souls of the men who are guilty of such attacks.

And lets not ignore churches, synagogues, temples and all religious groups because there is a very fine line between religious fervor and sexual passion, which very few know about and study, but which can ravage and destroy or change a religion in short order – from where it started to what it becomes after giving way to such emotions incorporating the way to hide and camouflage them in its structures and destroy those who come forward to speak their truth.

At the same time, there needs to be structured into each institution a way for the men to be treated for what they were raised to believe was their god-given right – superiority over the entire universe.  Treatment to relieve their male ego, which today needs to parade itself around in such a way as the current Republican Congress is giving us a premier example hoping we will follow.

The GOP Congress is out its bullying and its need to exercise control – to destroy to prove its manhood even if that means destroying democracy in the process.  Total destruction is what this white male ego has wrought on this society.

Who wants this democracy anyway.  It only stifles their ability to move back to what they consider the greatness of America, to the time when “White” men in this society were slave owners – “Make America Great Again” came from that wish trying to become a fact of life today in these United States.  Sex trafficking and all the other forms of human slavery still alive and well and protected by our structures are all thriving. These followers of Donald Trump want to go back to being those who could pass laws such as the Chinese Exclusions Act of 1882 to protect their superiority – the first act passed by Congress restricting immigration into the United States.  And that was passed after we horribly abused the Chinese living in these United States as no better than slaves who were conscripted to build our railroad under inhumane conditions and more.

That is the act Donald Trump wants replicated to keep brown and black people out of this country.  He even wants to go into other countries to do the same for their governments.  That is who we will become if we don’t act now.  We have inched up to this place and now the forces of evil are breaking out all over since we elected that champion of evil as president.  Who has he hired as his White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and who will probably replace General John Kelly as White House Chief of Staff?  William Shine –  Roger Ailes’ former head of Fox right hand man and co-president of Fox News and before that Senior Producer of Hannity & Comes.  He was the man who spent his career covering up Roger Ailes’ sexual abuse, harassment and assault of women. He is the man now preparing Brett Kavanaugh for the testimony he will give at this hearing being planned and they have spent hours each day in that endeavor. He is the man who is programming Donald Trump when he goes out to give speeches and who programs and controls the White House’s face to the press and more.  How low are we going America!

Maybe these hearings need to continue first by hearing from all of the women who have brought charges against the current president of these United States – Donald Trump.  Certainly that is an “oversight” area legitimately dealt with by Congress. A legitimate continuation of Congressional Hearings after the one set up for CHRISTine would naturally flow from that and then on to welcoming the women who have such stories to tell about others in Congress.  If these hearings are blocked by the Republicans in Congress I am sure others can find a way for such hearings to happen.

We need to recognize that the conservative evangelical christians lobbying Congress and providing money to individual congressmen are the Protestant equivalent to the Catholic bishops, archbishops, and above who have worked mightily to hide and therefore allow the continuance of the sex crimes which happened on their watch and on the watch of those who went before.

It has been clear to me for some time that to reach out to befriend a male creates a problem for both you and he.  He doesn’t know what to do if he is not attracted to you sexually – because friendship is not something he knows about nor is a friend without special privileges someone he can be.   He assumes that offer of friendship has a sexual component.  That does not describe all men, but it certainly describes the majority.  That is a very sad – no, very tragic comment to make because that is what maintains and continues this system of misogyny defined as “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women”.  A human being turned into an object which can be used, abused, shamed and then cast away or better yet kept around as an example and symbol to keep other women walking the trail of tears instead of being able to walk in her truth.

Once a date has been set for the hearing of what happened to CHRISTine, another date needs to be immediately for the next hearing, inviting women who have been sexually abused, harassed, assaulted by the president of the United States.  A group needs to be constituted for the next hearings to pick up after those are finished to go on until the problem is solved, stopped and redirected.

AMEN?

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Everything talked about in this blog and in any other blog in the Bettina Network, inc. is the opinion of the person who wrote the blog and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Bettina Network, inc. It is the property of Bettina Network, inc. and/or the person who wrote the original blog.
Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you. Please also tell us if you want your name as your byline or if you want your article to appear without your name.

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Aileen Clark Hernandez – (1926-2017)

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by:  Marceline DonaldsonI won’t say rest in peace.  I will say I hope you are living your life after life in a heaven in which everyone is equal – where love abounds – where justice has no meaning because the evils of this life have all fallen away.

At the end of life, one begins to think of what has my life meant! Did I spend my time wisely?  Did I work to make this world better for those I am leaving behind?  Did I do justice, love mercy, walk humbly as I tread this earth?  Can I expect to be welcomed in heaven because my life on earth was lived without making others feed my ego by feeling and acting better than?

I think Aileen can say yes to all of those questions.  She worked hard and produced much.  Not the material things in life, but those things which really count over the long term.

I first met Aileen in the 1970’s when I was elected to the National Board of NOW.  Got to know her even better when I went to a national board meeting in San Francisco with my youngest daughter who was about 4 years old at the time – and we stayed with Aileen.  The week we spent with Aileen was one I shall never forget.  I could have decorated Aileen’s house, it was that comfortable and familiar.  NOW members took turns during the meeting taking care of Jacqueline.  NOW’s commitment was to making sure board members felt free enough to bring their children.   We stayed in touch for a brief time after that, but then……

What most amazed me was her commitment to history.  She had incredible files, unbelievably organized, of everything she had done which would be of interest to historians down the road.  Her commitment to equality and justice was deep and dictated how she spent her time.  I am very grateful to have met Aileen and to have had the chance to see and be involved – for a brief time – in her life.  It was one of those times which changed mine.

When I met Aileen, we realized we had a lot in common.  Both went to New York University.  Both raised with parents who designed and sewed theatrical garments.  Both loved fashion – probably as a result of that upbringing. Both had a passion for  doing what we could to change this world for the better – and so much more.  She was a mentor for me and I am sure for many other women.  I count myself as being blessed to have had  mentors, throughout this life who have been strong, committed, beautiful people with an understanding of how we are all related and all working to bring about equality, justice, love for one another.

Aileen Hernandez

Writing these memorials is becoming a much too often occurrence.  I guess I have reached that time of life when people you know leave – frequently – for a different place and then it is time to fill those gaps in your memory because other things took precedence and you are left regretting not having called.  That is happening to me far too often.

That speaks to the way we have ordered our lives.  the activity, the action, the cause, the work of the moment becomes all consuming and involvement with friends from a lifetime ago gets pushed back for another day.  And the surprise and regret comes when you realize that day is not coming until your eyes close for the last time.

Aileen’s work and accomplishments were many and huge.  She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.  Twenty years from now, that newly coming to adulthood generation will look back to ask why she did not receive the acolades to measure her life’s work.  And the answer will be clear.  She was a woman who worked hard for women’s rights, equal rights and justice for minorities and for the union movement.  That combination is lethal in this society.  We don’t want to hold up such icons because they might just become the trail blazers to attract our children to become like them.

Aileen Hernandez, Pauli Murray and others have clearly shown the sexist lie to the now re-surfacing comments about the feminist movement being a white women’s movement.  The gains of that movement have had to push through racism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia and more to be achieved and even then those gains have been tenuous as the next generation tries to negate and destroy that move forward which freed us all for a brief moment.

Thank you, Aileen, for having been so consistent in your life and your work.  Thank you for being one of those bright lights and beacon to all of us showing us how to walk through some difficult times.  Thank you for having the courage to be one of those founding NOW at a time when the fight for the equality for women sorely needed such an organization.  Thank you for being there at a time in my life when I needed mentors, showing me there is a path you can follow because others have been there and walked through the stuff that gets thrown at you as a strong feminist and that gets thrown from all sides.

I know those greeting you on the other side are rejoicing and celebrating your life on this earth.

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Everything talked about in this blog and in any other blog in the Bettina Network, inc. is the opinion of the person who wrote the blog and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Bettina Network, inc. It is the property of Bettina Network, inc. and/or the person who wrote the original blog.

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Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

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