I am the daughter of a generation of immigrants whose roots are stemmed in a culture, where from childhood, a young girl is groomed to be submissive and to defer – initially, to defer to her parents, defer to her elders, defer to her male siblings, and then later in life – to defer to, serve and care for her husband, her husband’s parents, all adult members of her husband’s family, while she nurtures her own children and all the children in her husband’s family. A culture that taught her that it was her duty to sacrifice her wants and desires, her needs, and all the beautiful and ambitious dreams she had for herself for the benefit and well-being of the family, and to do so, was pious, and therefore, the ultimate reward in life.
Yes – as a very young woman I believed in what was being modeled for me - in what seems to be another lifetime. That is, until I went to college, where, by chance, I took an elective course in Women’s History. For the first time in my naïve adult life, I was introduced in detail, one by one - to strong, no-nonsense, independent thinking women of substance who broke barriers. One by one, I felt enlightened and inspired with courage, by each of these historical women, and soon after, I realized that it is not a mandatory requirement for me to follow any expected cultural norm – that I could indeed, choose to find my own path – and break my own barriers, and so, I did!
Hence, I am an avid believer that without the privileged opportunity to attend college – without my eye-opening, thought-provoking education - I might have been lost in becoming what was expected of me as opposed to finding my own true path, my own true self and most important, my own true voice.
So, now – as we approach, what we all love about being a member of ABWA, the scholarship award and recipient presentation, I am overflowing with excitement at the potential of what can be for these young ambitious women – as they pursue their chosen educational opportunities and goals!
This year, both of our scholarship recipients have compelling stories of how life has molded them thusfar – with beautiful aspirations to make a positive difference in the world!
Whenever I am witness to a young lady being given the opportunity to find her own path on her own terms through education – every component of my every being stands up to champion them on their journey!
To our current scholarship award recipients, Delaney and Disha – as we all know - education is your Path Finder and all of us here in the Pathfinder Chapter are proud to support you on your pathfinding journey – we cheer you on with admiration and accolades for your accomplishments to date, that brought you to us, today, and all that awaits you.
To say it best, I quote my favorite most recent woman of history, our former First Lady, Michelle Obama, “If we get our education – we really can do anything. We can lift ourselves to heights we could never imagine. We can pay forward all the love and support our families have poured into us, and we can truly be builders of a new day! Young people: Don’t be afraid – be focused, be determined, be hopeful, and be empowered! Empower yourself with a good education, and then get out there to use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise!”
Delaney and Disha: Congratulations to you as the 2022 recipients of the Pathfinder Impact Scholarship Awards! You represent the future – you are our hope for the future! May you go forth and shine with brilliance through-out your Path Finder journey!
In Gratitude and ABWA Friendship,
2021-2022 Pathfinder President