Through women’s friendship groups created by Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project (IARP), and supported by Mary’s Pence, both Iraqi and non-Iraqi women living in the Twin Cities of Minnesota meet monthly for cultural outings. The groups offer a chance for the women to interact, dispel preexisting stereotypes of each other’s cultures, build friendships, and work together to counter Islamophobia.
In response to requests from Iraqi group members to learn more about Minnesotan history and landmarks, the friendship group met for a tour of the Minnesota State Capital on July 22nd. Robyn, the grants manager at Mary’s Pence, was invited to attend.
She says, “It was a pleasure to spend time with the women; all of them openly welcomed me as an honorary member for the afternoon. From the start when we gathered in the rotunda until the end when we parted ways outside of the visitor’s office, greetings, laughing, and hugs abounded among the women. The presence of caring and respect for each other was apparent. It was an uplifting and educational experience.”
The women Robyn joined are the first cohort of women’s friendship groups. A second cohort was formed recently. IARP is looking to start a third women’s friendship group and already has women waiting to join. “After only spending a short time with these fantastic women, I can see why demand is so high” Robyn said. “Thanks to IARP for sharing their program with me. It is a blessing to be able to see one of our grantees in action.”
Women working together in their local communities have the power to create effective and lasting change. Mary’s Pence supports grassroots women’s organizations in the Americas. Learn how.