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In marching and challenging zoning policies we need to keep on...

Women the world over took to the streets and staged rallies on the weekend of Jan. 20 and 21 around the theme of women’s empowerment.  Hundreds joined the Sandpoint march, “First She Walked, Then She Ran.”  Their goal was to encourage more women to seek public office.

Those in Spokane participated in the “Women’s Persistence March.”  One woman there carried a sign that said, approximately, “I’ve been marching for 30 years”—persistence personified.

Women have been working for a greater voice in society for a long time.  The women’s suffrage movement, which began in 1848, comes to mind.

In 1983, Mohammad Yunus started the Grameen Bank to make micro-loans to women.  He had found that women making bamboo furniture in Bangladesh used these tiny loans to great advantage to build their businesses and improve their lives.

The recent marches and rallies make it clear that women and men are marching still, with persistence, to use the title for the Spokane event.

In Coeur d’Alene recently, Kaleidoscope Community Services held a small celebration party.  Gar Mickelson, founder, and those who have been networking with him had just succeeded in convincing Kootenai County to amend its zoning code to allow for transitional housing.

Their goal is to create a tiny house village for those who are homeless who seek to transition back to a more stable life.

This group has made progress on many fronts in bringing about this vision.  However, they have been stuck for the past two years because the zoning laws of the county did not allow for the type of community they hope to build until just recently.

At the celebration, Gar reflected on seeking to surmount this hurdle.  “For the past two years, just about once a week I have wanted to drop this project and leave,” he said.  Yet he chose to persist, and finally Kaleidoscope and those working with that group can move on to the next stepping stone.  They hope to begin building this coming summer.

In experiencing these back-to-back happenings in January, I have been reminded of the parable Jesus shared about the widow and the unjust judge  in Luke 18:1-8.

The widow had a reasonable request for justice, but the judge wasn’t interested in helping her out.  Still, she persisted.  Finally, the judge gave in and provided the ruling she sought, just to get her off his back.  “He said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”

Jesus then continued by saying, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God grant justice to [God’s] chosen ones who cry to [God] day and night?”

It’s tiring.  Much of the time, it’s distressing.  It can be easy to lose heart and want to quit seeking after justice.

Yet we have examples from the women’s movements over time.  We can look back to when Mahatma Gandhi encouraged the people of India to fight for independence.  We have recently celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in leading the way to greater civil rights for people of color, as well as others among the last, the lost and the least.  We can learn from Kaleidoscope’s success with the Kootenai County zoning code.

In seeking to make the world a better place, a more just place, a more equitable place, a more compassionate place for everyone, persistence plays a major role.

Let’s keep on keeping on.

Kaye Hult
Editorial assistant

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