Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Collaborators’ Celebration

Five Years of Ever-Increasing Synergy; like the fingers of one hand working together.

Five years ago today I had no idea that the blond haired woman with the healing touch would come to be like a sister to me and the collaborator of the next important, developing phases of the New Horizons Support Network, Inc..  She came simply offering to help lift some of the strain I was experiencing in my role as the chapter president of a national Jewish women’s social action group.

Disappointingly, the women’s social action group, unlike Sue, was to take no action whatsoever in responding to a local Jewish/Muslim upheaval, Nonetheless, out of that chaos what has come to be titled the “Cultural Mediation Paradigm,” came into being, publicly introduced at our recent Possible Society In Motion event, Now this approach to community development and the team behind it warrants a birthday celebration. Five years of ever-increasing synergy, community service and the development of a peace-building model with meritorious impact deserves commemoration.

To begin comprehending how momentous, in small, simple ways though with grand implications, has been our journey from there to here, first, picture one very challenged, dedicated, peace activist, Me, feeling unduly challenged in a highly charged and polarized situation. A state of local affairs that made a mockery of the Jewish ethic, tikkun olam, world repair, I still believe. Next, imagine my spirit sister, sometimes lovingly identified as Quaker Sue, raising her hand, saying “I’ll help,” as she has done more than once too often in the five years I have known her.

Prompted by true Quaker ethics to help counteract anti-Muslim backlash following the tragedy of “911, Sue had already pledged her support to neighboring Muslims when a mutual acquaintance brought she and I together. Initially we connected with the shared goal of offsetting the escalation of our local controversy. Since that beginning, however, auspicious only in retrospect, serendipity has guided us to become an almost magical collaborative team,  Synergy, like the graceful fingers of one hand working together, and the discovering of elegant solutions bear the signature of our fingerprints. 

So, today in honor of our five years together, as I have been promising to do for more than a year already, allow me to formally introduce “my Sue,” New Horizons’ most singularly active board member, chairperson of multiple committees and our esteemed Curriculum Development Director, Sue deVeer.

Sue deVeer is a career Quaker educator of more than forty years who knows that questions can be more important than answers. Strongly rooted in the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, equality and social justice, she has brought a unique perspective to recent developments in New Horizons’ various projects.  Her specialties as an educator are experiential education, environmental education, curriculum design and consensus decision making.
With all this and more to her credit, perhaps you, too, can see that “my Sue,” oftentimes raising her hand, enthusiastically stating, “I’ll do it,” says that phrase almost more than she should. 

Still isn’t she awesome, “my Sue”!

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