Originally Posted on May 28th, 2009
May 1, 2009 – A wonderful community of approximately 250 women in science and health, members of the John Hopkins Women’s Network got together to celebrate their accomplishments while learning about issues immigrant and refugee women experience in their journeys to integrate and acculturate.
Marga Fripp spoke about EWI’s empowering model that uses the arts to give voice to immigrant women and communities and create economic opportunity and a strong civic participation for newcomers. Six EWI artist members showcased and sold their art and designs at this event.
The Johns Hopkins University Women’s Network (HWN) is an organization established to improve the status of women, and thereby the human climate, in all divisions of the University. The HWN identifies and takes a leadership role on issues of concern to Hopkins women, fosters professional development, and provides networking opportunities through educational and cultural activities.
“Marga’s keynote speech and the EWI art for sale were the highlights of the 22nd Annual Hopkins Women’s Network Annual Luncheon held on May 1, 2009. 250 Hopkins women professionals from all four divisions of Johns Hopkins were brought to a new awareness of the isolation of immigrant women as they arrive in the U.S.
Marga, your firsthand account of your own journey as a new American was reinforced by the personal stories of your artists in attendance. You are a compelling and engaging speaker. We received overwhelming feedback from attendees that this luncheon was by far the most interesting and thought-provoking one to date, thanks to your involvement.
Hopkins strives to be a welcoming and inclusive environment and you’ve shed new light on how we can practically contribute to that goal. I know you received many eager offers of help from our members in mentoring and donations. The Hopkins Women’s Network is proud to be associated with Empowered Women International and commend your phenomenal outreach and educational programs.”
Barbara J. Williamson, Johns Hopkins Women’s Network, APL Chair
“Marga you are once again an inspiration for many years to come for many people to live. When you were up there talking I am sure everyone noticed it was coming straight from your heart. It was absolutely mesmerizing. You delivered some dense messages through beautiful simple words making it transparent and obvious for us to recognize them. And even now if people don’t understand, then we really do have a problem. Thank you for the gift of you!”
Silence of the night
Echoes in my mind
Memories mesmerize me
Leaving me twined
The past confronts me
All settled and lined
Every single moment
Is one of a kind
I enjoy the mood
Like an orange rind
Some of the pieces
Now hard to find
All is clear
Nothing is blind
Yet simplicity of life
Complicates my mind
Rabia Naeem Pervez, EWI Artist
EWI Storybook artist and writer, Sush Mazumdar also wrote an inspiring story after the event: “Daffodils and Dandelions”.
The story has it that, ” Coming out of the Kossiakoff Center after the Johns Hopkins Women’s Network Luncheon, I noticed this bit of landscaping that had been forgotten. Or missed. I was surprised and stopped to get a better look. It was raining and my arms were weighed down with bags and boxes full of my storybooks that I had had on display there. But I had to stop and get a better look. It was raining and my arms were weighed down with bags and boxes full of my storybooks that I had had on display there. But I had to stop and get a better look.
There, right next to the spent bunches of daffodils in the garden outside the building, were dandelions standing tall, and swaying. They had flowers and those cool “puffballs” as my kids and I call them. I had no idea that they can grow as tall as the daffodils! Fortunately or unfortunately, little girls pick the beautiful yellow flowers off the meadows and lawns (“For my mommy,” my preschoolers friend had said, just yesterday, picking up two flowers on the way to the playground) so we don’t often get to see them fully mature and grown to their tallest. And then there are the weed killers and landscapers who don’t like them around. They prefer the familiar and beautifully showy daffodils that announce spring’s arrival with their wonderful display.
Except that my mind was still full of Marga’s talk, about immigrants with PhD’s from their countries who silently drive taxis here, handicapped because they do not speak much English. And moms who stay home in isolation telling their children stories of their childhoods elsewhere. And so I saw the dandelions. And so I stopped. Thank god for the landscapers who forgot to weed that bit of garden.”