“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Will our fiscal year 2020–2021 be defined by COVID-19? Will we look back on it as a year of hibernation or the year ingenuity was unleashed? For the WNDC it was certainly the latter. We devised creative ways of staying afloat and keeping the jobs of our staff intact. One of those was to feed families in distress. We successfully garnered awards and loans and moved our stellar programming online. We got spectacular support from our members and continued to gain an average of ten new members every month.
The year was slated to be a remarkable year for many reasons. The year of the centennial of women’s suffrage; the year of a decisive battle between Trumpian forces and the Democratic vanguard; and the year preceding our own centennial. It, however, became a year of agitation for racial justice which was a great motivator for the electorate. Record numbers of voters turned out in the presidential election, despite the pandemic and helped turn the nation’s tide.
For me personally it has been a seminal year. The awareness that this was my final year as president of WNDC after 8 years (with a 3-year hiatus in between) permeated everything. Even as we shut down operations in March only to re-open for the FOOD*4*DC*KIDS program, resulting in endless COVID tests for me and the staff and then bringing more and more staff members onsite, we were aware of the fragility of the moment. We remained steadfast, however, and the results speak for themselves.
I depart with mixed emotions: joy, sadness, and some nostalgia. It has been a hell of ride! But one thing is certain. It is time to move on. I am confident that the incoming team will take us to greater heights and our best days are ahead of us. The WNDC has been a nurturing, if sometimes challenging, perch for me for over a decade. I was welcomed with open arms upon my move to DC and I found my spiritual niche among the caring members of this remarkable community.
I will be working shoulder-to-shoulder with you in 2022 as we mark our 100th anniversary. What a milestone! We should each be proud of the role we have played in achieving this distinction. A big thank you to the members and staff of an organization I have thought of as home for over a decade.
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club