While we are endlessly grateful and this is the season of gratitude, we're also acutely aware of parts of speech. Grateful is an adjective. Gratitude is a noun. Over here at the Wyoming Women's Action Network, we're pretty into verbs.
So we've been thinking about what it might mean to make gratitude a verb.
We think that gratitude in action looks like the everyday work of people who can see and appreciate clearly what they have and want to ensure that other people have access to those good things, too. Here are a few examples:
A WWAN member in Casper who, as a senior woman in a company populated almost entirely by men, went to bat for two of her female employees. She wrote to us, "I've been fighting hard to get two of my female employees more money. It was NOT easy. They were all on the bottom end of their pay range, yet have college degrees and many years of experience." Now, she reports good news: "Their raises were approved by our executives!"
The 18 women currently serving as County Commissioners in Wyoming who step up daily to make life better for their constituents in communities across our great state.
The Tampon Team in Teton County whose work ensures that period products are free and accessible for all girls and women who need them. Team leader Leslye Hardie had a letter in today's JHN&G: "Huge gratitude to Team Tampon and all in the community who have given money, time, travel and support to make the Period Project a fast success. We are stocking 18 locations — and more on the way! — ensuring women and girls never miss any aspect of life due to a lack of period products. Thank you!"
The Wyoming Women's Foundation and the Wyoming Council for Women who are teaming up to produce an update to the Wyoming Self-Sufficiency Standard. "The Self-Sufficiency Standard calculates how much income families of various sizes and compositions need to make ends meet at a minimally adequate level without public or private assistance." It is a vital tool that helps our lawmakers understand about women's economic self-sufficiency.
Those of you who take the time to write in and respond to the work we are doing. A few excerpts:
"These are community issues. If we recognize historically the contributing reasons why women have been overlooked then we can focus on moving forward in a formidable way. We should not hold resentment for past practices, but continue to strive to contribute to the betterment of our country and world as industry leaders, policymakers, and great wives and mothers."
"I firmly believe that most hunters would be willing to speak out or support gun control, registration, violence reduction or whatever we choose to label our overarching efforts to END gun violence. As with all change, there is now and will continue to be resistance. I'll keep working on it through my community."
"I have a story from my corporate days when the company I worked for moved into a new building. There were no personal hygiene dispensers in the two women’s bathrooms. I asked the facilities manager to get some and install them. He grumbled and made a big deal out of it ... A little while later, I visited the restrooms and discovered that they had been filled and locked. The dispensers required a quarter or 50 cents depending on whether they were pads or tampons. I marched into his office and insisted that he open the machines as the 25 or so women that worked there—among about 100+ men—were not going to have to scrounge around for quarters if they required a product. He was aghast!!! Who was going to pay for them, then?? I suggested he consider what it might be like for him and his cohorts to have to pay for pieces of toilet paper when in need. Of course, he did finally give in, but it was the women who had to ensure that the dispensers were kept stocked and unlocked."
Utah Native, fellow CtK alum and colleague, Evan McMullin, who put together a list of 35 things we can and should be doing to protect our democracy. Needless to say, there are a lot of verbs in the list. We're partial to:
#1 Vote in every election
#11 Run for public office
#17 Continually choose hope over cynicism and defeat
#35 Love thy neighbor as thyself
They embody our understanding of gratitude-as-verb and the kind of principled, community-driven work we're inspired to do alongside all of you. We strive to accomplish all 35 before year's end--so we can carry them into 2020 as a way of being--and we invite you to join us.