By Tarah Carnahan
Director of Business Development
Last fall, in the height of the hustle and bustle of our first major fundraising and sales season, one song, passed along by our team’s encourager-in-chief, Lauren, stopped us in our tracks. It was Michigan native May Erleweine’s Never One Thing.
Her melody encompasses the idea that no woman can be understood through a narrow lens. The height, depth, and breadth of the roles we fill and talents we posses, can't fully be ordered neatly onto a resume. We are visionaries, wonderers, caretakers, heads of households, first-responders, organizers, teachers, empathizers, goal-setters, listeners, advocates, bridge-builders, volunteers—change-makers pressing for progress in our homes, careers, and communities.
This is why I am so excited about International Women’s Day theme this year #pressforprogress because it seems from where I sit, women are shaking things up around the globe, not settling for what has been, but pressing forward to a future that is brimming with opportunity, regardless of gender, race, economic status, or sexual orientation. We are not settling for progress for some, but progress for ALL. From #metoo to women’s marches, to letter-writing campaigns, to running for office, to starting businesses in the middle of refugee camps—women are pressing forward in a new way to make our voices heard and amplify the voices of the marginalized.
Never One Thing is the inspiration and theme song behind our #WomenWho story-telling series over this month, drawing attention to the many women we know who are pressing for progress and making change through their own unique gifts. WomenWho create, advocate, run for office, make, mother, lead, illustrate, graduate, build businesses, partner, sew, etc.—women are never just one thing. That array and diversity of gifts is what makes us working together in collaboration rather than competition unstoppable.
We at Treetops Collective are inspired by the work of women—the many women in our own community who have jumped on board to advocate for creating a more welcoming community, one where all women can flourish, women who have, with boldness, stepped out of cultural comfort zones to create new relationships and listen, those who’ve offered their gifts in creativity and hospitality to our work.
And no one inspires us more than the many women who aren’t represented in the “Who’s Who” lists or at the networking events of our city—the countless women who have overcome—who with grit and hope came to a foreign place in order to escape the realities of war and oppression, to secure a better, more peaceful life for her children.
She is the one making meals after 2nd shift, while her family sleeps so that the inviting smell of home and nourishment are available for her children, regardless of how tired she is. She is the one frantically trying to decipher what school and medical papers say and how to fill out the job application that would mean $1 more an hour because it would make a difference. She is the one juggling, learning, serving and loving with a resilience I can only imagine.
It is this woman who inspires me and invites me to press for progress WITH her. We believe that she has overcome enough and deserves opportunities and friendship and flourishing HERE, right now. That’s why we exist as an organization.
So wherever you stand today, take a moment to remember and find boldness in the over 10 million stories of women who are being the safe place, the resilient ones en route as they flee from home. Then let’s be inspired by their audacity to press for progress even in the worst of conditions.
May their courage invite us into a radical hope. A hope that breaks barriers, speaks truth, advocates because we know progress is possible, and builds communities, relationships, and families with the belief that the time to get busy with change-making is now because WE ARE THE WOMEN WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.
*Check out our brand new "We Are The Women We've Been Waiting For" Raglan T's at the link above to share this message with other ladies in your life.