Ending at the Beginning: A Reflection about the Final Convening of Organizational Fellowship Program

By Iris Shiraishi, Mu Performing Arts

“We end at the beginning” – that was my first thought walking into Nile Hall at Preservation Park in Oakland, California last week.   Three years ago, walking into the same hall, I had so many questions as we embarked on our collective journey in the Organizational Fellowship Program, a project of the National Gender & Equity Campaign (NGEC).  I can’t say that all those original questions have been answered, but I can say that they’ve been supplanted by those that come from a deeper understanding of the issues as we work towards gender and equity.

I loved meeting up and hearing from folks across both the MN and CA cohorts. I loved seeing past staff join the convening.  It is from these deep and lasting relationships that I hope I/Mu/all of us can begin at this ending and continue on our work with renewed focus and passion.

AAPIP’s plenary session on Philanthropy and the Economy on Saturday was awe-inspiring!  Each of the speakers communicated their purpose and dedication from such a deep, honest, authentic place; you could not walk away without feeling energized and inspired.  I will know to conjure up their presence whenever I get discouraged or too bogged down in the mire of the work.

And that was a rockin’ reception and dinner!  Those little scallop things melted in your mouth; the liquid refreshments flowed oh so freely and I was able to laugh a lot with more folks throughout the evening.

Thank you AAPIP for a great convening; thank you for all your support over these three years; thank you for helping me do my work!

Iris Shiraishi is a part of the Mu Performing Arts leadership team and is currently the Artistic Director for Mu Daiko and director of its taiko programs.   

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