by Kay Walburger

"One Moment in Time when you're more than you thought you could be..." sang a crystal-clear voice to a room filled with some of the most courageous and passionately audacious women in California. The exquisite voice belonged to Shiela Vaughn, her face filled with light as she poured out words to "One Moment In Time" from the absolute depths of her heart. Her song reminded Darby, myself, and 400 other women from the Los Angeles area why we were here.

This was the First Interracial Sisterhood Pro-ject of Southern California, sponsored by Women's Federation for World Peace and the Association for Cultural Awareness, Unity and Social Equality (A.C.A.U.S.E.). We were here to celebrate "Cultural Diversity Month" via the "Bridge of Peace Ceremony" at the L.A. Convention Center.

What Can One Woman Do?
"As we consider the complex problems facing our world today, it is easy to understand the frustration and despair that many people feel. What can one wo-man do?" said Sheri Rueter (Chairwoman for the Sisterhood Steering Committee). "One woman who experiences her own ability to change and forgive can influence all those she knows and loves. This is the power of the bridge."

We women came to boldly and openly acknowledge our personal and collective power by expressing, celebrating and creating peace solutions, in a large community torn apart by racial disharmony. The theme of the day was declared in the words of the peace song we sang, "Let There Be Peace On Earth and Let It Begin With Me . . ." What better way than to create sisterhood with multi-cultural and interracial sisters.

This was only the first step however; the significance of this model for peace and understanding was apparent by the resounding singing, laughing, weeping, dancing and, oh, yes, hugging! Only women would feel so comfortable with all the hugging.

We women glimpsed our world at peace -our inter-city streets and suburban neighborhoods at peace- when we as individuals come together to take initiative to get to know and understand each other.

The Power of Sisterhood
Sisterhood is awesomely powerful! Darby and I were in awe of its power as we excitedly met our interracial and multi-cultural sisters for the first time. We all were paired with sisters who, like us, were eager to create changes in our lives that had meaning beyond here and now. With loving hearts and open minds, we crossed the bridge of peace in a moving ceremony. One sister came from one side, one from the other. After a deep bow of respect, we came to the center and hugged our newest family member, and held hands as we exited from the center steps.

More than acquaintances or associates, more than friends, we acknowledged our sister as family. We enjoyed a gala luncheon together where we exchanged our stories, gifts, and photographs of personal family members with our newest family member. Family is significant because we each hold our family members as precious and dear. We are bound together by invisible ties that unite our hearts forever.

We desire only the best for our family, each and every one. We reach out to them in time of need. We love to come together and celebrate with them during special holidays or events We grieve each other's losses or pain. Family is sacred, and to bring someone into the family is a divine gift of love and respect. Darby and I were thrilled to know that, like millions of women on this planet who passionately long for peace, we had taken the first step and were creating the model for transformation. We felt that in that "One Moment In Time" . . . we were more than we thought we could be . . . !

Generally, in the past a woman didn't think of herself as a citizen of the world. If she took care of her family and home, little else would be expected of her.

Yet, in today's global village, women are more closely connected to world-level events than ever before. Women can contribute more than ever to the betterment of our world. With their natural propensity toward love, patience and forgiveness, women can embrace the world the way the oceans embrace the continents.

A woman's instincts for nurturing, devotion and sacrifice are desperately needed at leadership levels. Women have always upheld the moral standard within their society, and in this respect are often stronger than men.

By exercising this virtue, women can lead the way, transcending the limitations of race, religion and regional differences. This is why women must take a major role in developing world peace.

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