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Marching on
Norma Smith Olson, left, and Kathy Magnuson
by Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson

We are all history makers - like it or not, claim it or not. History is being made and we are a part of it, whether we have jumped right in or are on the sidelines. The future of our country, state and communities depends on what we do or don't do as individuals this week and this month and the next.

Kathy had made plans to attend the history-making inauguration of the first woman U.S. president with her daughters and oldest granddaughter in January. They were going to attend a gala ball and celebrate.

Instead, as women often do, they improvised. They abandoned the hopeful ball gowns for raincoats and fleece mittens and joined the Women's March at our state capitol with a huge crowd of determined, thoughtful women and allies to make a statement about values on human rights, freedom and truth. They showed up and took a stand.

And now what?

In this issue, with a theme of women's history, we look back - and forward. We look at how women have been and are represented in science, sports, the arts and the legal arena. You can read the facts of the history of domestic violence in Minnesota. As we look at where women have come from, we also look ahead. How do we get to the future we want without becoming overwhelmed, sad or immobilized in the process?

Here are ten ideas for action:
1. Focus on a positive vision of the future you want. Don't get caught up in simply trying to create a less negative situation, but hold a proactive vision. Be informed with facts - and don't wallow in negativity.
2. Ask what work is yours to do. Identify one or two causes that are dearest to you. Maybe it's reproductive freedom or national parks preservation, water and pipeline issues, climate change or education.
3. You can't fix it all, but don't let that be an excuse for doing nothing. What amount of time can you commit? Decide if you will spend 15 minutes a day, two evenings a week, every Saturday morning, or whatever is right for you. But make a commitment. Do something.
4. Find like-minded people to support your personal work, then share ideas and take collective actions. Or build your own circle of allies, starting with friends or neighbors.
5. Then, find people who are not like-minded. Talk to them. We need to hear each other's stories. Where are the commonalities? Most women want equal pay. Moms generally want good schools for kids. We all want to be safe in our neighborhoods. What does that mean to each of us and how do we take action together?
6. Actions can take different forms. If you have a yard or a window, put up a sign. Even this simple act can express support and solidarity.
7. Buy lots of postcards. Mail them on a regular basis to those in public office, thanking them for support of an issue or expressing your disappointment for the lack of support. Tell them why you want a certain vote and that you are their constituent.
8. Ditto on phone calling. Use this tool from the League of Women Voters to find out who represents you and get their contact information: tinyurl.com/LWVconnect

Enter their contact information in your phone under P for Politician to quickly pull them up. Maybe you are reluctant to make phone calls. Get over it! Do you want to tell the next generation that you did not resist injustice because you were afraid of the phone?
9. Give gifts of subscriptions to local, fact-based, independent media, including this one. Write checks to causes you support.
10. Find someone running for office in 2018 who shares your values and ask to volunteer on their campaign.

When one of Kathy's granddaughters who is "strong willed" acts up, someone often points out that she comes from a long line of strong women. Let's all be strong willed. Let's remember the strong women who came before us. Let's recognize we have power to step up and make a better future.

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theme is Global Women. What's your global story? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: March 10, 2017
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May's theme is Generations. How would you like your generation of women to be remembered? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: April10, 2017

Watch for the results of MWP's annual What Women Want readers' survey in the May issue!
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