Coronavirus Update

To our precious Genesis Community around the world of 20 years and counting, and all the 2019 and 2020 Women Leadership Salon Speakers, Moderators, Participants and those planning to attend our Salons, and all of you reading this who care deeply about building peaceful communities around the globe:

I reach you all today with a heavy heart, utterly disturbed by the state of our world and its terribly uncertain future.

As of Sunday afternoon, March 15th, a couple speakers and a moderator are no longer able to come to our April 2020 Salon because of their employer’s and institutional policies.  Some of our group fall into the high-risk categories which put them at an unconscionable risk by participating in the Salon; Eisha was mandatorily evacuated from her university in California and is returning to Pakistan at the end of March.   Mariela fled Syria as a refugee to recently become an American citizen and now, cannot get back into the US from London.

Compounding that, as most of you know, the City of Chicago is going into lockdown mode in response to this coronavirus pandemic and the Mayor and Governor just shuttered all restaurants and bars until the end of March (except for take-out orders).  This may be just the beginning of more austere measures to come for an unclear duration as this continues to evolve.  I believe they will close O’Hare temporarily this week for containment. 

As a result, much as we all tried to prevail with this important program, we believe it is wise to postpone the April 2020 Women’s Leadership Salon until this fall.  We will be in touch with you about the exact alternate dates, in the middle of October 2020, either the 14-16 or 21–23.   (We will remount the exact same April 2020 Salon, to the best of our abilities and already have 65% of them re-confirmed for October.)

We know that this is a very difficult and uncertain time for everyone.  We are a community of incredibly powerful, intelligent, collaborative, creative women, and despite the postponement of the Salon, we can still offer support to one another as we affect change individually and collectively – until such time as we all convene later this year.  The decision regarding the replacement Salon dates will need to come over the next few weeks to a month when the weather warms up and the virus dies out and this is behind us all. (This appeal to solidarity and action includes all the men too!) 

I excerpted my response to Peter Wehner’s stunning article, “The Trump Presidency is Over” published in The Atlantic this past week.  I wanted to share it with you all because I believe our Salon women (linking arms with everyone else connected to Genesis,)  can help lead this crusade forward (and upward) and cause the results to show up more quickly by and through our collaborative efforts.  That is the essence of the Salon and our Genesis Family writ large…

No pun intended – may this piece “go viral,” as we say.

Most importantly, may we all move to a mode of repairing and restoring our country, our world and our lives with a new sense of interconnectedness and a firm commitment to upholding a moral compass for ourselves and our leaders.  I would like to see it imbued with a renewed sense of compassion for others, especially now, for those most horrifically affected by the arrogance and the astounding number of blunders.  This new world order should undoubtedly be fashioned with a zero-tolerance policy/stance for supremely dangerous liars who serve their egos while dismantling our hard-won and precious institutions that safeguard us all, under the guise of leadership or worse still, Commander-in-Chief.    The notion of fake news still gives me hives.

As a physician and someone who dedicates her life to building peaceful communities, my other wish is this:  may we seize this moment in history, albeit a painful one, and transform it into an opportunity to pull out the Charter for Human Rights to make a living, breathing document of it, re-tool our healthcare and manufacturing systems and policies and use them all to find novel ways to support and ultimately become a compassionate community the world over.  If we did, it really could resemble the “beloved community” of which the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke so passionately as well.  It was also he who said, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Please do confirm receipt and feel free to email me with any questions, thoughts, concerns and ideas. Please join our peacebuilding team in any way you can. 

As you can imagine we are already feeling a massive financial backlash with this worldwide health threat and the resultant hysteria. Even if you are not able to come to the Salon, or any other Genesis program, please do your part to help support Genesis at the Crossroads.  

We can not only survive this crisis, but actually move forward and thrive – to bring to fruition the very first urban Peace Hub of its kind here in Chicago (in the world)  with a K-12th grade educational model for global leadership that builds the capacities of the world’s future leaders, enabling them to be poised as well as artfully and skillfully trained to build peaceful communities the world over so we are never, ever in this situation again.  This kind of leadership corps alongside all of us, will undoubtedly mobilize and rapidly collaborate to effectively tackle the myriad threats that may come our way in the future.

Please help us make this communication and our fundraising efforts go viral – around the whole wide world.

Thank you in advance for your generosity.  Please stretch yourselves and go beyond your comfort zone. 

On behalf of our Board of Directors and Genesis Peace Hub Strategy Team, I wish you and your families, friends and colleagues continued health, well-being, and sanity as we all navigate these disturbing and unprecedented times ahead.  I also hope that despite the horrors we are witnessing, that you also find grace and beauty in some of the ways we are newly connecting to one another, collaborating and sharing our collective burden and pain, not to mention disbelief. 

With deep respect,