In 2001, after the bombing of the World Trade Centre, Betsy Wiggins, speech therapist and wife of a Methodist minister, was concerned about discrimination against Muslim women. So Betsy called the Islamic Society of Central New York, offering to provide transportation to Muslim women who needed for grocery shopping or other help. That call led to an invitation for coffee with Danya Wellmon, who was one of the women leaders at the mosque.
Betsy and Danya became friends and two weeks later each invited nine women to Betsy’s house. The women met, and there in that suburban house, Women Transcending Boundaries (WTB) was unofficially born. In a short time, more and more women joined the group and in 2002 the official organisation was formed.
Between 2002 and 2003 the women began working on service projects. The first was a literacy project that involved developing training materials in Urdu and raising nearly $8000 to build a school in Pakistan.
WTB women began gathering outside of the monthly meetings. Several joined the Muslim sisters in the breaking of the Ramadan fast at the Islamic Society and from there on they worked together to help women and children of different faiths and cultures in the US and elsewhere.
Since that simple cup of coffee, WTB has gone from strength to strength, attracting women from many traditions and cultures, including Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i, Sikh and Native American.
As Betsy said about Women Transcending Boundaries,
“I thought all I was going to do was have coffee with Danya. I had no idea the women we invited would become a dynamic group. I didn’t’t realize what sort of response our little group would engender. I didn’t know we had touched a nerve in the community and that we would become a salon of discussion for many spiritual women with complicated questions.”
Pretty good result for one phonecall…
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