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By Alvaina Daniels, Communications Intern
Last Friday, I attended a playreading at my alma mater, not only because my former professor was facilitating the discussion, but also because I was in search of some inspiration. I am an aspiring screenwriter, moreover a screenwriter of color. The playwright who was visiting was an alumnus and an artist of color. He is currently a Pulitzer Prize finalist and one subject we kept running into were the politics of production, most notably funding with regards to minority artists. He stated that there are multiple theaters within NYC that possess a mission statement somewhere declaring “We are dedicated to promoting the diversity of NYC to the public theater community…” I feel that diversity no longer holds the meaning or idea it was created to induce. You can have an entire group of entirely white males and still have a completely diverse environment. I believe that the word we are all looking for is multiculturalism. At Gallatin, we’re taught how to find a common thread between multiple subjects that may appear to have nothing to do with each other. This playwright has been able to do that even in his plays with such brilliance that either you get it or you don’t. But he stated it was difficult to have his plays produced or funded, especially as a Latino playwright. He said that although most theaters in NYC make that very same mission statement that don’t hold true to it. He called it a “defraudment of the public trust.” You are lying to the public and the government if you are not promoting “diversity” and receiving public and federal funds.
Someone told me something a long time ago that has always stuck with me. “God is a god of His Word. He is bound by it. Once God speaks something into existence, He cannot take it back.” That is why we can hold on to God’s promises because He always holds true to His Word. As children of God, we are to be held accountable to our words, our mission, and most importantly the will of God. 1 Tim. 4:12 call us to be examples “to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” How then can we as Ecumenical Women speak of gender equality if we can invite men into the heart of our work? Is God not revealed to us as both male and female in His Love for us as our mother and father? God demonstrates perfectly how both the male and female work together to make manifest a most perfect work. You cannot have one without the other. How can there be gender equality for women without equal partnership with our male counterparts? There is none without them.
The mission of Ecumenical Women clearly states: “Grounded in our faith and commitment to global justice, Ecumenical Women trains and empowers our expanding network to advocate for gender equality at the United Nations. The vision of Ecumenical Women states: “We envision a human community where the participation of each and every one is valued, where no one is excluded on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, age, religion or cultural practice, and where diversity is celebrated as God’s gift to the world.” One thing I completely recognize with Ecumenical Women is that diversity truly implies this idea of pluralism. The vision that Ecumenical Women has put forth exists now within this coalition. Men are a vital part of what makes Ecumenical Women. Men must be invited to share in this vision building if we are to truly to achieve gender equality. If we cannot invite them, then we perform our part in a defraudment of the public trust. We may be different in sex, but the common thread that we binds us extends beyond our dedication gender equality to most importantly of love for Christ.
Obviously, the public space is not equal. Women must be given more opportunities to lead in the public sphere, but we cannot do that without the support of our male counterparts. If God is to be held accountable for His Word, are not his children, female or male, to be held accountable as well? We have seen the injustice of elevating one gender over another has done to not only humanity, but also our faith as Christians. Let us not be doomed to repeat history. We must welcome our brothers to table of equality to stand in solidarity with us until we are all one in Christ where there is neither female, nor male.