March is Women's History Month " Given the chance, what woman from history would you interview and what would you ask? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline: February 10, 2017
April's theme is "Global Women" What's your global story?Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to email@example.com Deadline: March10, 2017
Each month we ask our readers to respond to a question. For February we asked:How are you acting up for justice and equity?
Moved into political action The night of the election I was a wreck. I couldn't watch what was happening. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't even cry. The guy I'm dating kept saying, "Jordan, you should be out there fighting this. You articulate the problems so well. You have such passion for this. You should get involved."
I told him, as I've told many people over the years, that I had no desire to be in the public eye. That night, though, as I lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling, I started to think about it. Was that really the reason I didn't want to be in politics?
I sat down the next day and wrote a letter to the Office of the Governor of the State of Minnesota. A cover letter. Proudly sporting my pantsuit, I headed to the capitol to interview for an internship in the Office of Policy.
Here's part of what I wrote in my cover letter: "In the past my parents, friends, and teachers have encouraged me to expand my political involvement. At first I argued that I had no desire to be in the public eye; later I contended that my contributions, within my narrow area of expertise, would be more valuable. The truth, however, is that despite all of the support I have received over the years, I am a young woman who grew up in a world where I was often told that I was too opinionated, that I needed to temper my views, or that I was too emotional. Over time I have internalized the belief that my voice is less important by virtue of my gender. As a woman with a unisex name, I see the change that occurs in people's perception when they realize that I am female. I am no longer willing to accept this gender-biased definition of my abilities or myself."
Jordan Hinahara, Hopkins
Becoming a lighthouse For years there have been women who are lighthouses. These women shine truth into dark places. They light the way to safe passage. Now I'm taking my place among them.
I'm part of the founding team of Women and Allies Minnesota (WANDA MN), an organization of activists promoting equality and social justice policy for women across the state. Together we marched for women's rights in Minnesota and D.C. As I call out for justice, my voice rises with the voices of those who fought before me. With their support and guidance, I'm louder than ever before.
I'm becoming a lighthouse. I'm having uncomfortable conversations with my family and friends. I'm showing up for meetings and marches. I'm looking hard at my own privilege, educating myself and responding to those who cast light my way.
With the light of those around me, I'm shining into places I could not have reached alone.
Jenna Bergendahl, Minneapolis
Pledge to continue working for equity I'll be intentional about creating spaces, securing resources and developing opportunities to inform and organize people.
We can't afford a "this too shall pass" attitude. We can't normalize what we are experiencing. This is NOT a new normal. It is not normal to accept blatant attacks against women, minorities, LGBTQ people, workers, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, undocumented people and people with disabilities.
Let's organize radical action against the current political direction that proposes to sharpen the economic and social divide in OUR Country. I propose we organize an educated, strategic, well-funded, massive resistance that no longer chooses "one issue" in which to invest our time, money and energy. We'll not be divided. We'll be attentive to all issues.
We'll be ready to act against threats to our environment, our reproductive health, our right to marry the person we love, our right to organize. We'll be individually and collectively equipped to be fierce, smart, peaceful warriors.
Patricia Torres Ray, Minneapolis,
MN State Senator