The Bridge Project went live just four months ago. As of November 1st we have 17 matches with many more in the works. A lot of conversations, planning, and heart went into the origins of this little project we hold so near and dear.
Very little has happened as I expected since we made our first match. Several of the initial applications we received were from veteran feminists, which completely took me by surprise. I had just assumed the bulk of interest would come from rising feminists, which I suppose is a product of all too often thinking of cross-generational relationships as unidirectional (and precisely why we avoided using the terms "mentor" and "mentee"). It was exciting to see veterans get it - that they had as much to gain as we risings do from building bridges. I have also been struck by the amazing individuals already a part of the the Bridge Project family. And time and again, I am in awe of just how fitting our matches are - just look at Monique and June on our match page to see what I mean!
On Halloween weekend we four committee members made our way to Rollins college for a few days of feminist magic. In addition to the wonderful presentations of oral history projects, a panel featuring Pat Schroeder and Gloria Steinem facilitated by Muriel Fox, and performance by the Guerrilla Girls, this was the first big feminist setting in which we all got to be together in speaking about the the Bridge Project. At our table, over lunch, in line, seated and waiting for a show to begin - each moment offered us a space to talk with others about building bridges. The response was dazzling. Whether 18 or 80, the project just clicked with the individuals around us. One student asked for a handful of postcards to take back to her campus NOW chapter. A couple of rising feminists stood and spoke with us for an hour about feminist dreams and all that this project might offer. And all through the weekend, veteran feminists met risings who showed them that in bridge matches, both parties learn and both parties teach.
Bridging is about sisterhood, about fun, about passion and compassion. Who are you meant to know? What have you always wanted to learn about the women's liberation movement? What issue sets your heart afire? Spending time with my own match, and seeing other bridge partners together sharing talk and laughter, reinforced what a treat it is to reach across those artificial boundaries of age and time to realize that sisterhood is transcendent, if only we take the time to listen and learn.
Chelsea Del Rio, Bridge Project Committee member, Nov 1, 2011