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Last weekend MomsRising hosted a remarkable conversation. I do confess that I was deeply anxious about gathering a multi-dimensionally diverse group for conversation about the women’s movement of the 21st century at the Omega Institute. Having national organizers, local organizers, child care experts, environmentalists, bloggers, social entrepreneurs, an age range from the 20s to 60s and substantial cultural diversity, not to forget a fabulous man who thought nothing of hanging with thirty women talking about the women’s movement, created conversations that both challenged and inspired. The dynamics could have been explosive; I’m happy to report that they were magic.

As foreshadowed we didn’t come up with a grand unified theory of how to achieve family-friendly policy and work culture in this country. We did, however, come up with an incredible number of excellent and some downright brilliant, ideas for moving toward these goals. We talked about local organizing, ways to support each other, growing MomsRising to a million members and more, ultimately how to include all voices in the commitment to create real security for America’s families. In addition, we made meaningful and unique connections with people who are key parts of this movement. The collective understanding of this group is far ranging and profound. Judging from this weekend we are going to learn oh so much from each other and have a heck of a lot of fun doing this work together. We honored the successes of the women's movements of the 20th century and looked at how we could further the vision of equal opportunity for all women in the 21st century.

There was a spirit of generosity and honesty in the room that I would argue is a key ingredient of building a strong movement. Working together, working in parallel, sharing our insights, engaging honestly and respectfully when our views differ, cheering each other on and contributing to each other’s success whenever possible is going to be key to achieving social and policy advances that will make American families more secure. The vision we began to share was inclusive, wide-ranging, and respectful of the many voices we want to honor and embrace.

The conversations expanded our horizons and reassured us that we can have a diverse movement given partners with such big hearts. We don’t have to agree about everything; we do need to focus on our core shared vision of mothers and families thriving in our country and we trust that, if we do this, if we model respectful, joyful, collaborative and non-judgmental engagement in our work and in our communication, we will create a country conducive to the success of families and communities. Perhaps even more inspiring, we will invigorate both our democracy and our economy!

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