Turning Poison Stories to Power Stories
Lynda Hollinger-Janzen
The murder of George Floyd was a turning point, said Cyneatha Millsaps, as she opened the Leaders Inspiring Leaders seminar that took place on the Elkhart campuses of Mennonite Church USA and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS), Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Millsaps, a Mennonite pastor and executive director of Mennonite Women USA, was co-organizer of the seminar, along with Ann Jacobs, a specialist in urban and African American ministries, working with the support of Mennonite Mission Network's training and resource department.

After the whole world watched video footage of Floyd struggling to breathe with Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck, excuses to remain inactive were no longer acceptable, Millsaps said. "Before [Floyd's murder] I gave White Americans a pass, because I reasoned that they didn't know. But, now, we all know."

When Millsaps accepted her position with Mennonite Women USA, in 2018, she began by encouraging women to make friends across cultural and racial divides. She continues to find new ways to achieve that initial goal.

"The White women I met with, in many locations in the United States, really didn't have a clue as to how to go about [crossing cultures]," Millsaps said. "So, Mennonite Women USA developed the Sisterhood Master Class."

The Sisterhood Master Class builds on the Sister Care curriculum that Carolyn Heggen and Rhoda Keener developed, in 2010, to help women live into their own healing, so they can better care for one another, as they encounter difficult life experiences. Since then, Sister Care has been taught in every conference of Mennonite Church USA and in more than 36 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2017, Millsaps and Hyacinth Stevens, Mennonite Central Committee's East Coast executive director, presented the first Sister Care event adapted to the realities that shape African American women's lives. The Leaders Inspiring Leaders seminar was the second national presentation led by African American women, with 34 participants registered.
This Thursday, November 11 at 7pm on Zoom, Mennonite Women USA Leadership Circle will facilitate space to talk through what women are thinking about the reversal of Roe vs. Wade.

This gathering will be framed with guiding questions and an open invitation for all to share their feelings and opinions. It will be a space for women to listen and talk through what we are thinking with special attention for each voice to be heard. MW USA will invite participants to think about lives different from our own so we can see the topic form diverse vantage points.

As we discern together, may God guide us and give us the strength, care, and tenacity to keep us moving in love.
November is Native American Heritage Month. We at MW USA wish to honor our native siblings, past and present, this month and year round. Keep an eye on our social media for land acknow-ledgements, info about the Doctrine of Discovery, and uplifting Native voices.

We encourage you to take time this month to educate yourself on the issues facing Native people here in the US and around the world. A great place to start is by learning whose land you occupy and researching that tribe and any present day descendants. Below is a link to get you started.

Our offices are located in Newton, Kansas on Osage, Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita land.
As you can see, we're doing important work at MW USA. From offering resources and support to women throughout the church to the seminars and scholarships we offer around the world. Your contributions ensure that we can continue to do this good work.
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