Village Report | March 2024

March 1, 2024 | Jen Griffin, Vice President of Engagement

Jennifer Griffin

by Jen Griffin, Vice President of Engagement

March is Women’s History Month. It is a time when we celebrate and honor the extraordinary contributions of women throughout history. We often find inspiration in the courageous stories of females who have faced adversity head-on and overcome obstacles. Not surprisingly, my inspiration this month came from music and recent experiences that left a profound impact on me, highlighting the incredible courage displayed by two iconic musicians, Lucinda Williams and Joni Mitchell.

In February, I had the privilege of attending a concert by singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams at the historic Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. The venue’s atmosphere was electric, and the anticipation for Lucinda’s performance was palpable. While I had purchased her music in the past, I had never seen her live. Little did I know that this evening would become a profound testament to the indomitable spirit of a woman facing incredible challenges.

As Lucinda took the stage, it was immediately obvious to me that something was amiss. She quickly and bravely shared with the audience that she had recently suffered a stroke and was still in the process of recovery. (I think everyone in the audience knew that but me.) The stroke had taken away her ability to play the guitar, a defining aspect of her musical identity. However, with unwavering determination, she declared, “But I can still sing,” in her distinctive deep southern accent. The crowd went wild.

The music started and we soon learned that Lucinda, along with her band, had recently battled the respiratory “crud” that is floating around. She struggled on and off and finally had to leave the stage due to an uncontrollable coughing fit. Yet, in spite of that, she came back and finished the show. The support from both the band and the audience was resounding. We were with her 100%. Witnessing this display of courage left me in awe of Lucinda’s strength and resilience. To step into the spotlight, vulnerable and recovering, is an act of true bravery.

Lucinda Williams’ story echoes the sentiments I felt last summer when I attended Joni Mitchell’s performance at The Gorge in Washington state. At 80 years old, Joni, too, had faced a health challenge after suffering a stroke a few years prior. With the encouragement and support of fellow artist Brandi Carlile, Joni made a triumphant comeback. The three day weekend was a love fest between the musicians and audience members who had come to celebrate Joni’s incredible artistry and impact on our generation. Although she opened tentatively, her strength and joy grew throughout the performance. Amazing!

The parallel between these two women is striking—a testament to the extraordinary strength that women possess. The courage required to present oneself as an artist is immense in and of itself. But to do so while navigating the complexities of recovery is remarkable.

So, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s reflect on women like Lucinda Williams and Joni Mitchell. These women exemplify the indomitable spirit, strength, and resilience that are inherent in the female experience. Their journeys inspire us to face challenges with courage, to persist in the pursuit of our passions, and to embrace vulnerability as a source of power and inspiration.

Another powerful and inspirational group of women? Female entrepreneurs. Join me March 8 as we learn the stories of the women in our annual panel discussion, “She Thought She Could, So She Did.” I suspect we will all benefit from the insights and struggles these women faced! See page 5 for more information!

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