By Marianne Schild
National YWCA DNC Correspondent
A goal of mine for this week’s efforts at the DNC is to promote engagement in politics among women and especially young women. If you want to feel inspired, Google Sister Simone Campbell. If you are sick of the divisive rhetoric of today’s political campaigns, she is, too. She is driven and caring, she is smart and approachable, she is strong and she is just so cool. I asked her what she is most looking forward to at the convention this year, she said to be with other people who care and the opportunity to have dialogue with people without having to deal with the issue of polarization, which is stifling.
If you are not familiar with her work, Simone Campbell is a Catholic activist for social justice who recently toured the United States with Nuns on the Bus, speaking with women and those living on the economic margins. When I showed her the map of the US depicting the 12.8 million women who were previously uninsured, who will now be insured under the Affordable Care Act, she said simply, “Praise God.”
I shared with Simone how for more than 150 years, YWCA has been at the forefront of social movements, from women’s suffrage to the Civil Rights Movement, and today, all YWs can have different programs, but they all relate to our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. For example, YWCA Central Carolinas operates transitional housing and youth programs as well as a fitness center. Simone and her staff were impressed with our YW and what we do for the communities we serve. She said nonprofits play an integral role in leveraging the federal government support with individual donations to provide services their communities need.
She and I discussed many things in a semi-structured interview this evening at the home of YWCA supporters Jan Valder and Barney Offerman – I had questions prepared, and thoroughly enjoyed the free-flowing conversation, too. I asked if she has any specific goals this week. She wants to see more people engaged with mind the gap, mend the gap – an initiative of NETWORK about the wealth gap in the US – and use Nuns on the Bus to talk about the needs of folks in the margins of society. She will also be pushing reasonable revenue for responsible programs. (The transitional housing programs at YWCA Central Carolinas are examples of responsible programs!) Common Good 2012 is an initiative to get people engaged in the election.
The views expressed in this interview are those of Sister Simone Campbell as reported by Marianne Schild, Fearless & Fabulous National YWCA Correspondent to the Democratic National Convention.
YWCA correspondent Marianne Schild is attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., from September 3-6. Ask her questions and our Twitter updates by using these Twitter hashtag: #ywcaDNC. Learn more.