Friday, August 28, 2015

Women's Work

In Canada, the First Nations of the northern Northwest Coast are the Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Gitksan, Tlingit, Haida, Tahltan, Heiltsuk and Haisla. Among First Nations, weaving is the work of women. The ceremonial apron to the right is woven out of mountain goat wool and decorated with cedar bark and puffin beaks.

The following text is on a wall plaque in the Museum of Northern British Columbia, in the town of Prince Rupert. Peconic Bay member Mona Rowe is right now on a road trip through the area. The text speaks to the important role women play in ending war and violence.

“In 1893, in the Bulkley Canyon at the heart of what was once Temlaxam, 35 carved stone clubs were found in a hollow cache five feet underground and capped with a large tone. Gitksan elders at the time explained the cache by describing how a woman buried the weapons of the Temlaxam warriors at the end of a great war.” 

Women working for peace is a theme that Peconic Bay Zonta has highlighted on this website in past years, when we sponsored showings of the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”

Two of the women featured in that documentary won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. They are Leymah Gbowee, who mobilized and organized women to bring an end to the long civil war in Liberia; and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected president of Liberia in 2005. Sirleaf is Africa's first democratically elected female president.

A third woman, Tawakkol Karman, also shares the 2011 Peace Prize. All three were recognized by the Nobel Committee “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Yard Sale a Success!

We got lots of sun and exercise, but Peconic Bay's yard sale on June 13, 2015, was well worth our time and effort. We also talked to many folks about Zonta International and about Peconic Bay's local activities, and those conversations resulted in donations. Several shoppers remembered us from past yard sales and one woman was familiar with Zonta.

Part of why we do this, of course, is to promote Zonta. But the big reason is to raise dollars for our ESL scholarships and for our annual donation to the Zonta Foundation. The day was a success!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Peconic Bay Awards ESL Scholarship to Lilian Garces

Lilian P. Garces (center) of East Hampton won a $300 scholarship from Peconic Bay Zonta, a service and advocacy group that works to improve the status of women. Peconic Bay Zonta members Mary Ann Miller (left) and Diane Greenberg joined Garces at Suffolk County Community College’s Riverhead campus, where she successfully completed Level 3 of the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The local Zonta group awards the scholarship biannually to a female student in an ESL program who is studying to achieve an educational goal.

A native of Colombia, Garces came to the U.S. in 2005. In her scholarship application, she wrote, “I want to become an interior designer, and I think that when you get to a foreign country with goals, the first step to fulfill them is speaking the language of the country.” She also said that she wanted to show her son that it is never too late to learn.

Based in Riverhead, Peconic Bay Zonta covers the East End of Long Island and is affiliated with Zonta International, which works to empower women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Yard Sale, June 13, 2015

We're having a yard sale! Come shop on Saturday, June 13, 2015, at 5 Emerson Court in Hampton Bays, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. It's for a good cause: Peconic Bay Zonta is raising money to support the two ESL scholarships we award every year to deserving female students at the Suffolk County Community College, Riverhead campus. This is a multi-family sale, with clothes, jewelry, household items, books, home-baked goods, and more. Rain date: June 14.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

South Africa: Up Close and Personal

Peconic Bay's Membership Chair Liala Strotman recently returned from a trip to South Africa. Liala shared her experiences, impressions and photos at our May meeting and also told us about visiting a local school and donating supplies. Because she's a retired educator, the school visit and all her interactions with children were especially memorable. Liala took the photo (above) of a wall near Nelson Mandela's home. In bright red letters, it says:

   STOP Women & Children Abuse

Advocacy Chair Barbara Pierce added South Africa to her long list of countries we've "adopted" for an evening of discussion and cuisine during our business meetings. See a short list below.

                                    Birth Rate                    Infant Mortality                            Fertility Rate                 Literacy
                                    (births/1,000)         (deaths per 1,000 live births)     (children born/woman)    (% 15 and over read, write)
                                                                 Total          Male         Female                                        Total           Male        Female

Chile                              14.64            7.71          8.49          6.88                1.92               95.7        95.8          95.6
China                             13.71           21.16       19.43        23.08                1.77               90.9        95.1          86.5
Egypt (2013 est)            23.79           23.3          24.83       21.7                   2.9                72           80.3          63.5
Germany                          8.3              3.54           3.84        3.21                 1.41               99           99             99
India                              22.22           30.15        34.61       25.17                 2.72               61           73.4          47.8
Mexico                          20.04           19.01         20.91       17.02                  2.37              91           92.4          89.6
Rep of Congo               40.09           74.22         79.58        68.7                   5.59               83.8        89.6          78.4
South Africa                  18.94           41.61         45.25        37.9                   2.23               93.7        95             92.6
Ukraine                           9.41             8.1            10.13        5.94                  1.3                 99.7        99.8          99.7
U.S.                              13.68             5.98           6.64         5.3                    2.06               99            99             99

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Zonta Spring Workshop

Close to 60 Zontians gathered for the District 3, Area 1 & 2 spring workshop, held on April 11, 2015. It was a glorious spring day -- and especially lovely because the meeting location was at water's edge at the base of the Throgs Neck Bridge.

Two sessions triggered lively topical discussions:
   - Empowering Our Clubs with Knowledge: A Turnkey Public Relations & Communications Plan
   - Empowering Our Clubs with Confidence: A Turnkey Strategic Plan for Membership

All in all, the workshop was a good way to share ideas, get inspiration and network with dynamic women and men who support Zonta International's mission for empowering women through service and advocacy.

With Peconic Bay always looking for new ways to raise dollars for our ESL scholarship, Mona Rowe collected some great ideas. For example, the Zonta Club of the Bronx does a "Zumba for Zonta" event. According to club president Marsha Gilles, participants pay a fee to participate in a Zumba exercise class with a professional instructor, a health and wellness workshop, and a Chinese auction. Last year, the group raised money for domestic violence and other causes. This year's event in the Bronx is May 2, 2015.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mayan Craft Sale Draws Eager Shoppers

Peconic Bay's recent service project raised over $1,300 for Mayan Hands. From scarves to bags to toys, every item for sale was hand made by Mayan women in the Guatemalan Highlands.

Background: Deb Lohman, a retired educator and weaver, was a guest at our January 2015 meeting. She told us about her recent visit to a Guatemalan women's cooperative, supported by Mayan Hands. This fair-trade organization promotes the work of Mayan women who create traditional textiles, basketry and other items for sale. The money is used to support the women's families, educate their daughters and purchase school supplies.

After discussion, we decided to seek/develop opportunities to sell hand-made crafts to benefit these Mayan artisans.

Our next sale is on March 26, 2015, during a reception in conjunction with LUNAFEST, a film night at Brookhaven National Laboratory sponsored by Brookhaven Women in Science and by the Stony Brook Women’s Leadership Network at Stony Brook University. The films are by women, for women and about women. NOTE: LUNAFEST HAS BEEN CANCELLED, NO SALE!