Women and Teens 13 and older, join us for an inspiring weekend. Speakers, music, worship, workshops, vendors, fellowship and fun!
Greetings from Conference Convener Carol Currie:
Dallas is part of a gigantic metroplex and has a consistent energy about it. We Women at Dallas First Unitarian Church create a part of that energy. It is our pleasure to invite you to join us here where we will raise the Feminine Energy to new heights and learn new ways to share it with our world while still caring for ourselves. Join us, and become part of “Hearts and Hands Joining for Justice!”
Percussionist of intricate melodies and polyrhythms of West African music / teacher / storyteller / humanitarian and winner of 2015 Jack Benny Arts and Humanities Award. Helen is the Executive Director of Motherland Rhythm Community and the co-founder of the Benkadi Project.
Motherland Rhythm Community is an official 501c3 with Benkadi being part of the work with Motherland Rhythm Community. The Community also offers drum circles, performances and scholarships to classes in the USA. Helen will be sharing her stories of working toward justice, envisioning possibilities of weaving music with humanitarian work, and exploring how we can bring our individual desire for justice into our own communities for the good of all.
Helen’s keynote presentation will be Saturday morning and she will lead drumming workshops on Saturday afternoon.
Listen to the NPR Interview with Helen Bond and Amy Lusk.
Going Native is a terrific new vocal group with three awesome women at its heart. Lisa Mensing – lead singer/rhythm guitar, True Turner – multikeyboardist and LaDonna Goetz – lead guitar/vocals will make you want to Rock and Roll. Each of these talented women started doing music at an early age. With True bouncing between keyboards and the vocal harmonies of LaDonna and Lisa, we are in for an unforgettable night of rhythm and dancing.
The band as a whole is unmatched in the entertainment industry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrjDK0Bx_UI
Going Native will perform Saturday night after dinner. They’ll also lead a workshop on Saturday afternoon.
Sincere thanks to all of the workshop presenters for volunteering to share their time and knowledge.
Workshops will be filled in the order in which registrations are received.
AM 1 A: “UU Women’s Federation: Voices for Justice” – Rev. Beth Dana
The Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation (UUWF) exists to promote justice and spiritual growth for women and girls. Come learn about the latest UUWF initiatives, and engage in conversation about the future of women and gender justice.
Rev. Beth Dana – Dallas First Unitarian Church – Minister of Congregational Life has led numerous workshops/trainings at the congregational, district/regional, and national levels in UU settings.
AM 1 B: “Your Mask Goes on First: Making Self Care a Priority in our Service Oriented Lives” – Jean Ann Powers
As women dedicated to creating a more loving and just world, we are often met with the challenge of finding the balance between caring for oneself and caring for the world (and its people) around us. This workshop will help identify what creates our imbalance and clarify what we can do to create balance.
Jean Ann Powers – the Pastoral Care Ministry Director at Dallas First Unitarian Church. She is a licensed counselor and has 25+ years of professional experience leading retreats and workshops.
AM 1 C: Our Living Masks – Dialogue with the Self – Debbie Cannatella
Participants will create masks which represent the inner self and outer self and use those masks for dialogue. Recommended for Mother/Daughter.
Debbie Cannatella – Dallas First Unitarian Church. Trained facilitation skills leader, worship sermon presenter at UU churches, organizer and leader of women’s gatherings and conferences.
AM 1 D: Dance Yourself – Let Your Heart Move Your Body – Ana Coutinho
Reaching deep within ourselves, we find the movements that our heart wants us to make. Using body awareness techniques and the fine arts, we connect as a group and find inspiration and creativity. Come with comfortable clothes and barefoot or with jazz shoes.
Ana Coutinho – Cedar Park – Live Oak UU Church. “I am an artist; movement and color are my passion. I studied various body awareness techniques since I was a girl in Brazil. Now I am 57 years young, still curious and making my own groove. I have a special gift distilled from these experiences that I like to share.”
AM 1 E: Taoist Tai Chi – Marianne Kolar
Come join us for an introduction to the moving meditation of Taoist Tai Chi. Designed to increase strength, flexibility, and balance, Tai Chi improves overall well-being and reduces stress. Over time, these internal arts reach deep inside the body to benefit the entire physiology and restore calmness and peace of mind. According to Taoist teachings, body and mind cannot be separated — the practice of Tai Chi is designed to help the mind return to stillness, clarity and wisdom, and the body to a balanced, relaxed and healthy state.
TTCS has done demonstrations of Taoist Tai Chi for any number of organizations. Our time will start with a short presentation covering background and basics of Taoist Tai Chi. We’ll follow that with a demo and a sample class inviting participation of the attendees.
AM 1 F: After Incarceration: Resolana – Sarah Billingsley, and a recent Resolana program graduate
Women in the criminal justice system can work through the trauma that helped incarcerate them. Find out about the positive impact that Volunteers of America “Texas Resolana Program” has and how they incorporate the community in assisting these women re-enter society.
Sarah Billingsley has a Bachelor’s of Social Work from UNT and is the Mentor Program Coordinator for Volunteers of America. A recent Resolana program graduate will also share her experiences.
Saturday Early Afternoon Workshops, Session PM 1: 1:30 pm
PM 1 A: Our UU Faith and Reproductive Justice – Marcia Niemann
This workshop will be divided into three parts: a historical overview of our movement from a focus on abortion rights to the broader perspective of reproductive justice (with emphasis on our General Assembly statements on these issues), then an overview of the current reproductive justice issues, and finally a participatory activity of clarifying our visions and sharing what true reproductive justice would look like in our communities.
Marcia Niemann has been a member of First Church in Dallas TX since the late 1990s, where she is active in the small group ministry program called CIRCLES, as well as other church organizations. She attended General Assembly in Ft. Worth, Phoenix, Providence and Portland. Marcia is recently retired after 14 years as an English as a Second Language educator, and currently volunteers in her neighborhood with 2nd grade and adult ESL students. Marcia first became a feminist activist in the early 1970s, and spent 30 years working as a community organizer on women’s issues prior to entering education, with both volunteer and paid employment in the National Organization for Women, AZ Right to Choose and NARAL, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the VD Hotline in Tucson, Planned Parenthood, several sexual assault and domestic violence organizations, and the Tucson/Pima County Women’s Commission, as well as a wide variety of candidate and issue election campaigns.
PM 1 B: We Can Do It; Political Action, Advocacy and YOU! – Connie Gray
Review of political advocacy the presenters have engaged in to change laws. Best method of communicating with legislators, their office staff, and finding common ground. Building a following in social media, events, and networking.
Connie Gray – Cedar Park – Live Oak UU Church is on the Texas State Genealogical Society Speaker list. Presenting “The History of Adoption” in Texas, she speaks to genealogy societies, AARP groups, adoption and civic organizations. In 2015 the group she founded, Texas Adoptee Rights, initiated HB984 and she had meetings in over 170 legislative offices at the Texas State Capitol.
PM 1 C: Spirtuality of Laughter – Marla Loturco
There is no accent in laughter. Laughing can connect people for any project. Laughter Introduction (presentation), Laughter Meditation (Experiential), Laughter Exercises (participatory).
Marla Loturco – Red River UU Church has presented this subject at three congregations for their morning service. Her background is in teaching physical education and computers for 40+ years.
PM 1 D: Rhythms of Spirit and Joy – West African Drum Workshop I – Helen Bond
Experience the joy and power of community drumming. You will learn West African rhythms and their cultural context, as well as drum technique and patterns. This is open to all levels (no experience required).
Helen Bond is a dynamic percussionist, teacher and storyteller who has found music to be an inspiration and source of strength
and resiliency since her childhood. For the last 16 years, Helen has traveled regularly to Guinea, West Africa to study the intricate musical traditions and culture of Guinea, whose ancestors created the djembe and dunun drums centuries ago. In addition to touring annually, she teaches at retreats, local schools, colleges and universities. She is adjunct-faculty at Lake Forest College, in the Chicago area, where she teaches the “West African Drumming Ensemble” and the “West African Drum Chamber” classes. Through her company, Medusa’s Musical Mysteries, Helen offers classes in Guinean percussion music, drum facilitation, and gives storytelling performances. www.medusadrums.com
PM 1 E: Spirituality and Music…An Experiential Experience – “Going Native”
How does music affect you? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Come play with three of the crazy ladies who will be providing the entertainment tonight and find out about the secret life of music and how it affects your body, soul, and spirit.
“Going Native” True Turner is the former pastor of a non-denominational church. LaDonna Goetz has presented numerous psychological seminars for UT Arlington, and Lisa Mensing has presented public education/involvement seminars on environmental pollution issues.
Saturday Mid-Afternoon Workshops, Session PM 2: 3:15 pm
PM 2 A: ERA: Unfinished Business – Melissa Gibson
The Equal Rights Amendment is simple, civil rights may not be denied on the basis of one’s sex. In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment passed both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. However, only 35 states ratified the proposed 27th Amendment, falling just three states short of the three-fourths needed. Of the 15 states that did not ratify the ERA, ten are located in the UUA Southern Region. What has the failure of the ERA meant for women’s health and economic livelihood? What can we do to change it?
Melissa Gibson – All Souls UU Church – Shreveport. Sermons at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, leading Adult RE session on reproductive justice, leading several day-long workshop retreats for local writers, teaching groups of 12+ children at homeschool cooperatives.
PM 2 B: Art and Activism – MarySue Foster
Working with collage materials, participants will explore using art as (a) a personal clearing/meditation practice, (b) a way to enroll others in standing up/speaking out, and (c) a method of using handmade media to spark interest.
MarySue Foster – Dallas First Unitarian Church has 30+ years as workshop leader/speaker/teacher, many formats, many age groups. She has presented for SWUUW.
PM 2 C: Opening up through Improvisation – Kristin and Manon McCollum
This workshop teaches the foundations for improvisation: listening, supporting your partners, and adding information – tools that are also incredibly helpful for a happy, productive life.
Kristin McCollum – Dallas First Unitarian Church – has been a working actress in Dallas, Texas for over 20 years, teaching improvisation for 10. She is the proud mother of two daughters. Manon McCollum has been immersed in acting her entire life and is an actress in her own right. She’s a freshman at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts.
PM 2 D: Getting Out of the TRAP and Beyond: Barriers to Abortion Access – Nan Little Kirkpatrick
Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, hundreds of laws have been enacted to make abortion inaccessible. Learn about legal barriers to abortion for low-income people and how you can help.
Nan Little Kirkpatrick is the Executive Director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, the North Texas abortion fund, and is on the NARAL Pro-Choice Texas board.
PM 2 E: Rhythms of Spirit and Joy – West African Drum Workshop II – Helen Bond
Experience the joy and power of community drumming. You will learn West African rhythms and their cultural context, as well as drum technique and patterns. This is open to all levels (no experience required). So, plan to attend whether or not you made it to Part I of this powerful experience at 1:30. Read about Helen Bond in workshop description PM1D above.
PM 2 F: Wake Up to Water! – Becky Warren
Love your joints, stretch and strengthen your muscles, and get your heart pumping with water exercise in the heated pool!
Becky Warren – UU Fellowship of Waco. Becky taught at SWUUSI for 7-8 years and has been teaching at the YMCA for 25 years.