Hope is key

April 11, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

 

"Cherish the liberty we have and be the voice for others" Laura Ling, April 9 2013.  

 

Laura Ling recently shared her personal response to the joys of being immersed in a culturally diverse environment during her college years and how that early experience influenced her curiosity about the world.  In her role as a TV journalist during the next 14 years she was fascinated by humanitarian struggles, witnessed peaceful protests against repressive regimes, covered the brutality of drug wars and human trafficking, and admired people’s quest for freedom.  In 2009 Ling lost her own liberty when imprisoned in North Korea for 140 days, a period that gave her ample time to reflect on how precious each day is.  Alternating between hope and despair, she took immense encouragement from small gestures of kindness and compassion.  Letters from family or messages of love gave her the strength to meditate to move forward gracefully with a sense of peace, purpose and gratitude - positive practices she still continues every day as she treasures time with her family.  

 

In the spirit of her thoughtful message, it was entirely appropriate that Ling was the keynote speaker for the YWCA’s 18th annual “In The Company of Women” luncheon at the Hartford Convention Center on April 9th.  Most of us will never face a challenge of that nature but we do  deal with unexpected hurdles while still having the capacity to offer support to people in need.  Ling encouraged us to truly value the opportunities we have while helping others overcome adversity in its many forms    

 

With its mission of eliminating racism,empowering women,and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all” the YWCA Hartford region offers a wide range of programs that help change people’s lives in practical ways in our own immediate area.  From emergency support to break the cycle of domestic violence or homelessness, to measures for improved economic stability (including access to affordable childcare and skills training including successful parenting support for teens) to leadership training to equip the next generation of influential change agents, education is the key to empowering women on so many levels.  

 

The YWCA should be proud of all it has achieved since its inception in 1867 as it continually develops crucial new initiatives to address emerging issues.  If you want to know how to support their work or to volunteer, please visit http://www.ywcahartford.org.  If you want to know more about Laura’s experience you can read the book she co-wrote with her sister Lisa "Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home".  It’s fascinating.

 

We need leaders with a sense of integrity and purpose so I was fortunate to be in the midst of a room already filled with 1,300 inspirational accomplished agents for change.  It's always exciting to be surrounded by people who have vision, talent, determination and who care deeply about improving the world we are all privileged to share.  How can you reach out to someone who needs a little hope?


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