Judith Cohen's Thoughts on ONE FOR ALL
Posted on 11/14/2011 @ 11:39 PM
As if it weren't enough to be reunited with my friends from across North America and Canada. That alone would have been fine with me. But since when does BBYO ever settle for satisfactory? So far the Panim el Panim One for All Summit on Equality has exceeded my limited expectations in ways I couldnt have possibly imagined. Coming here I honestly didn't know what to expect. The sessions we've been attending have given me so much that I knoe can never be taken from me, only shared. I hope to take everything this summit had taught me about being different, accepting, and equalminded back to my local community and school and share everything I can with the people I'm around every day.
The program that has affected me most so far was run by a panel from the organization Keshet. We were asked in our groups to write in either a boy or a girl box what societal norms were for each gender. We then switched boxes with another group who wrote about the other gender and were asked to write around the box what happens when someone of that gender steps outside of their box. We went on to discuss the pressing issue of placing people into boxes. My horizons were broadened by miles with the information I learned. There was so much I realized I didn't know. Words I hadn't even heard of, not to mention thought of using in everyday conversation. I'm cisgender and I had no idea. I spent three weeks this summer with a person who is genderqueer and I had no idea. The amount I didn't know astounded me. I left the program in a state of shock and with even more questions buzzing around my head.
The magic of Panim was evident after the program because the program didnt just stop when we walked out the door. The conversation continued. I know in my room we had to reconsider everything we as individuals and we as a movement stand for. This was us becoming the ones who are for all. This, i realized is what Panim One for All is meant to be teaching us. It is not the vehicle with which we are to stand up, but the toolbox equipping us with the tools necessary to do so. I now feel fully equipped and educated and ready to go back to my community and stand up and teach others to stand with me for what we believe in. Judith Cohen Charlotte, NC