To close out this year’s progress on TCJC’s “Justice for Women” campaign, we took to the mountains—or, more accurately, the hills! From November 8-10, formerly incarcerated women, advocates, and service providers who have been working to advance women's justice legislation in our state gathered at beautiful Mo-Ranch in Hunt for the first-ever Texas Women's Dignity Retreat. The goal was to celebrate all of the incredible progress that’s been made, build community, and plan next steps in the campaign.
I am beyond grateful that nearly 60 women decided to attend, and as we march towards Texas’ 2021 legislative session, I am more and more excited about the work ahead of us. Together at the retreat, we laughed, bonded, and established tangible priorities for the future of women’s justice in Texas. Below are some of our best memories from the retreat weekend, and some ideas about where we’re going next.
Friday, November 8:
We gathered at beautiful Mo-Ranch for the weekend! After arrival, we had a welcome party, where we shared stories, got to know our fellow women, and toasted smores on the fire.
Saturday, November 9:
We gathered for morning yoga, led by Cathy Marston of Free Battered Texas Women, and featuring our brand-new yoga mats! Next, naturalist Elizabeth Gillette led us on a hike through the trails on the Mo-Ranch campus.
After lunch, we had an art class with Murphy Anne Carter of Freehand Arts Project, who helped us turn words into art. Then we all gathered together for our visioning session, where we shared ideas, frustrations, hopes, and priorities for the future of women’s justice.
Some of us took naps…
Some of us took selfies…
And we took an awesome group photo!
That night, Katie Ford of Truth Be Told led us for an open mic night, where attendees shared songs, poetry, original writing, dancing, and more.
Sunday, November 10:
We had our final moments together on Sunday morning, when we shared thoughts from the weekend and hopes for the future in a fun and impactful closing “snowstorm” activity.
So now that we’re home, what comes next? You can see more photos from the retreat on our website or our Facebook page. We’ll be back in 2020 with a new Women’s Justice agenda, built directly from our shared priorities, to show what we hope to achieve together in Texas over the next two years.
Once again, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took time out of their busy lives to join us on this retreat, everyone who’s following along with our photos and stories, and everyone who’s supported this women’s justice movement. Attendees at the retreat were so generous with their time, their positivity, their lived experience, and their friendship—that is what really made it special. Stay tuned for more in 2020!