2016 Women of Achievement Awards

AWC-SB 9th Annual Women of Achievement Awards from Ninety Degrees Media on Vimeo.

Lois Phillips’ Thread

“There’s a thread you follow…
you don’t ever let go of the thread”
William Stafford (1914-1993)

If you knew Lois, like I know Lois, you’d say
Oh, Oh, what a woman—her thread woven in the 60’s—
dervish, feminist, organizer, family woman, and friend
who lends her walking poles and backpack
when you’re off on a trek should trails be rocky
or steeper than planned. Oh she’s a planner, a juggler
whose passion is standing women in the light.

If it weren’t for Lois, we wouldn’t be here,
AWC’s co-creator, original Founder and ED
of Santa Barbara Antioch University, she taught
the value of diversity. Where there’s need,
she takes matters in hand, consultant guru her claim.
If your life’s going south, she points you north,

like last April headed up Figueroa Mountain Road
to behold the wildflower splurge with husband Dennis
and half the city, traffic stopped cold. Picture this!
Lois in a large-brimmed, poppy colored hat,
out of the car, arms in the air, directing stop and go.
Oh she’s a go-to woman, an un-jammer,

attitude changer. In the 70’s, she cajoled the dean
of Massachusetts U, Amherst, to support adult women
then reentering college. Her own dreams on hold,
she relinquished her job, followed her spouse hired
by UCSB, across country. The rest is history.
When a single mom with two children, she made
ends meet, earned a PhD, found herself, and Dennis
who filled her heart. Thread in hand, now reflects

on her life’s deep well, replaces fragmentia, a word
she coined in another century, with her creative muse—
Renaissance woman she is, singer, poet, painter.
With Dennis, she’ll keep crossing oceans, trekking on,
curious about what’s next, her advice to the young.
Oh Lois, you’re one to walk your talk and talk your walk!

by Perie Longo
Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Emerita
AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards, 6/3/16


Lois Capps Addresses Congress

People will forget what you said…but never forget
how you made them feel. –Maya Angelou

Good morning everyone, and it is good,
all of us having arrived safely from cruises
or far corners. A few words before I leave office.
Remember how you commented I was “just a nurse,”
how dare I run for Congress after Walter passed away?
My skin thicker, here I still am, woman of the day,
to lower the temperature of the climate in here,
globally as well. Essential as the long list of legislation
I’ve  helped orchestrate to improve the physical
and mental health of Americans, including yours.

And as voted,  “nicest person in Congress”
for the past eighteen years, by you and the whole staff,
(those who really get things done), I have some guidelines.

Return your hand to your heart as when we pledged
allegiance. Breathe deep, watch your breath.
If it balks on exhale, mindfully push through,
go with the flow. You’ll lower blood pressure
and renew energy. You know, that buzz phrase
I’m famous for, considering one of the committees
where I sit. Picture your most happy place.

Now I ask you, is it nice to shut down the government?
We’re not a grocery store, after all, or Yahoo!
As Walter often said, “We are humans first. Everything else
is secondary.” There’ve been a lot of secondary goings-on lately.
So….we’re going to practice coming to our senses,
grounding ourselves, play a different bipartisan game.

Everyone count 1-2, 1-2 all around the room. That’s it.
Now all the ones move to the left and all the twos
to the right. I know it’s a little confusing but, oh well!
Congress is really a metaphor for the family, its values,
and joys; squabbles and heartbreak. Now turn
to your opposition with respect, and ask
from your heart, how we promised to lead, ask
how are you? What do you want for your children’s future?
Shake hands. Doesn’t that feel better? Trust the moment.
Now be well, do good, and please, stay in touch.

by Perie Longo  (with apologies)
Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Emerita
AWC-SB Women of Achievement Awards,  6/3/16

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