Monday, July 1, 2013

That Next Woman Taking a Stand for a Cat Needs to Be Me

My friend Suzie measured just under five feet. She referred to her size often and joked about it. When we talked about the limitations and advantages of her height, she told me she had been anxious about it most of her life until she took IMPACT. IMPACT? That was the first time I heard mention of it.  Suzie cared about me and hoped I’d sign up for the class, but I had many reasons not to at the time: I was a cash-strapped student; I struggled to make ends meet after college; I worked on weekends.

One day, Suzie and I were out walking and talking. We heard a yowl and a yell, and some expletives. I shrank back. But Suzie became super alert. Her eyes searched the block. She seemed even more present and physical than usual.

We spotted the source of the commotion in the next front yard: someone was holding down a cat on its back, by its neck. “HEY! STOP THAT” This surprising voice, this call to interrupt came from Suzie. A force stood next to me! “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” Suzie wasn’t letting up. Shocked, the assailant paused to look at us. His fist hovered mid-air. He complained that the cat had bit and scratched him and someone had to teach it a lesson, and told us to mind our own business. Did I mention that Suzie never lets up? “Let the cat go” she calmly and firmly ordered. Sheepishly, the assailant sputtered one more excuse, then slowly got up. Suzie and the cat had prevailed.

I took note of what I’d seen: vigilance, a strong voice, absolute determination and that all beings deserve to live free of violence. I also learned that any woman can make a difference, no matter her size.  I wanted that next woman to be me. I let Suzie talk me into making IMPACT my next priority. Do you know a woman who wants to take a stand? Is the time right for you?

--AC Racette, 1995 Core Program graduate

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