Monday, October 27, 2008

There Was No Panty Throwing, After All

Last week, I attended the California Women’s Conference in Long Beach. Maria Shriver led it, but she wasn’t the reason I attended. Nope…I bought a ticket to the afternoon session—The Minerva Awards—because Bono was speaking.

To say I love Bono is an understatement. In 2002, I traveled to Ireland with the primary goal of seeing various U2 landmarks and trying to run into Bono at a pub in Temple Bar. I’ve seen U2 play 8 times in the last 10 years, 6 times of which I was on the floor for the show, watching beads of sweat drip down my gorgeous little Irishman’s face.

Listening to him call thousands of women to action Wednesday for the ONE and the RED campaign was like having honey drizzled in my ears. The man didn’t just talk about the epidemic—or emergency, rather—in Africa, he spewed poetry about it. He dusted the air around us with verbal confectioners’ sugar, and truly amazed me with his commitment to making a difference.

What was astounding, though, was that he was not my favorite part of the day.

The Minerva Awards are designed to acknowledge women who embody the Roman goddess Minerva (AKA Greek goddess Athena)—star of California’s state seal—in their commitment to using strength, creativity and passion to make a difference in the world.

Among this year’s honorees were self-help writer and publisher, Louise Hay (whom I love), everyone’s favorite feminist, Gloria Steinem, tennis star and misogynist defeater, Billie Jean King, and creator of the Penny Lane girls’ home Ivelise Markovits. Then there was Betty Chinn. The woman who moved me more than Bono did.

This sweet little citizen of Eureka, CA took it upon herself to start a program to feed the homeless. She began by baking donuts and brewing coffee in her kitchen then driving around town, handing it out to people who needed it. As people in a local church learned of Betty’s endeavors, they pitched in and now the project includes full meals and a delivery van. All because of one ordinary woman’s compassion and empathy for people around her.

Betty Chinn is no different from you or me, and that left me wondering: What more can I do? What more can we do?

12 comments:

varietyisthespice said...

Wow, you ARE a fan. That's crazy. But for that, I'm still in awe of you.

I think about those kind of issues daily and I always worry I'm not doing enough.

-Jane

brookem said...

no undie throwing afterall! ha!

there are SO many causes, things, different things we could do to help out people less fortunate. so many random acts that you don't even think of, that could mean so much to someone else. your story about betty chinn is a really sweet one.

justrun said...

That is too cool. I was intrigued by that whole conference.

You are right, we can all do something... even if that something changes.

Sizzle said...

I'm always inspired by stories like that. That one person can so drastically change so many people's lives for the better- I wish more of those stories made the front page and more people tried to make a difference.

Michael C said...

I'm glad you got to go and so thoroughly enjoyed it. I threw my panties at Tom Jones once. It was lemming thing. Wait, none of the came out right...

laura said...

with the holidays just around the corner, now is a good time to help a family in need or volunteer to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving...last year for Christmas we adopted a family in need from a local church and it was great! there are so many ways to help local families, and I would imagine the need is even greater this year with the economy the way that it is.

Anonymous said...

It was an inspiring day and I was so glad to share it with you. If you haven't already, you should post this on one of the conference blogs. I don't think many people could sum it up as eloquently as you did. Maybe your contribution to the world is your writing....just a thought. Now just to figure out what mine will be....

Wow, that was awkward said...

Cool. I love being inspired and in turn inspiring others. I've seen U2 twice and I kept my undies on both times.

Mandy's Kidding said...

Awesome.

Semicharmed said...

unbeleivable. if only there were more people like betty chinn this world would be a much, much better place.

thecoconutdiaries said...

SO COOL! You are making it VERY hard for me not to want to move back to California, missy!! U2 was the 2nd concert I ever went to. Of course it was the Zoo TV Tour and all the U2 faithfuls were bummed at the sellout-ishness of it, but it was Ah-mazing. You can have Bono, Larry Mullin Jr. makes me happy in pants.

Lara said...

I love me some U2, too. I've only seen them once - but I must confess to crying a little. Because I am cheesy like that.

Yay for Betty Chinn! (even if her story made me crave a good donut...)