What is the Women’s Congress? What is a ‘living draft’?

What is WCFFG?

The Women’s Congress for Future Generations was a gathering inspired by the long line of community leaders and visionaries, especially women, who have worked on behalf of Future Generations. Our central organizing team and affinity support groups include writers, dreamers, public speakers, organizers, lawyers, academics, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, filmmakers, and artists. All are committed to issues of women, health, justice, and the environment. Our elder circle includes luminaries such as Joanna Macy and Mona Polacca, one of the thirteen Indigenous grandmothers. Our fiscal agent is the Science & Environmental Health Network.

Why have ‘living drafts’ of our documents and declarations?

Those who attended the Congress in Moab, Utah from Sept. 27th to 30th, 2012 felt their voices represented only a fraction of the world’s women and of the diverse communities of Future Generations to come. Not wanting to speak on behalf of those whose voices were not represented, Congress members and participants conceived of the ‘Declaration of the Rights held by Future Generations’ and the ‘Bill of Responsibilities for Present Generations’ as living, breathing documents to be amended in perpetuity.

Who is invited, and how can we edit the documents?

All are invited to join in this effort. The purpose of this blog is to house this document so that it can be debated, amended, and edited by a wide group. We seek your wisdom. We invite you to draft what might be absent from current iterations of this document, to add to it rights, responsibilities, and principles that reflect your experiences; to challenge and push back; to add nuance; and, to delight in the places where you feel resonance with what others have contributed. Even more, we hope that we find ways of translating these working ideas into concrete action.

We invite you to contribute your voices, thoughts, ideas, and suggested amendments by commenting on the the drafts. Though we’ll include questions that we are actively seeking your responses and insights to in our next post, we welcome any and all comments and contributions that you are interested in giving us.

How will our comments be included into the living drafts?

We will create a Council to oversee the amendments and changes to the Declaration. Danielle Nierenberg (daniellenierenberg@gmail.com) will serve as the executive editor of the Declaration. The Declaration is hosted both on this blog and on the Women’s Congress website  to allow us to discuss it and propose changes.  Every three months the Council will hold a conference call to review the proposals, additions, changes, and suggestions. In addition, we hope to hire an intern who can engage organizations and individuals as part of our desire for Radical Inclusion of many voices.

If you’d like to serve on the Declaration Council, please email Sherri Seidmon (sseidmon@aol.com).

Our first conference call on the Declaration will be in December and we’ll be in touch regarding possible dates. Henia Belalia will facilitate that call and we will plan to discuss organizing and next steps.  If you have plans or ideas for using the Declaration or furthering the work of the Congress, please let us know during the call.  

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2 comments on “What is the Women’s Congress? What is a ‘living draft’?

  1. Thank you all for crafting a beautiful, inspiring, and true document.

    What is the action that you will take to make the Declaration come to life?

    What is the one thing contained in (or still missing from) the Bill of Responsibilities for Present Generations that members of the Women’s Congress can do (or stop doing) that would, when announced to the world along with the Declaration of the Rights Held by Future Generations, make every other woman want to join in — and many men give a huge sigh of relief?

    Last week I had a dream, based on my own heritage. A Jewish congregation was celebrating the retirement of their long-time rabbi, a male. The synagogue was packed. After some speeches, blessings, and singing, there was a lull in the darkened synagogue. A man whispered, “What are we waiting for?”

    In the dream, I thought to myself, “Why is he asking such an obvious question? All the women know that the candle is being lit on the cake and any minute now the light will come.” Sure enough, in came the procession of women carrying the cake with a single burning candle. The ceiling of the synagogue exploded in a wondrous fireworks display of silver stars of all sizes.

    What will the arrival of the candle and cake look like? What does the Earth most need right now that would mark the end of patriarchy? What can we do?

    Debbie Hillman
    Evanston, Illinois

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