In some ways, 2020 was about stillness — we have not been able to move and interact in the same ways. Paradoxically, it also has been about upending inertia.
In this special double issue of Minnesota Women’s Press, we blend the concepts of reflection and change. Our annual Changemaker issue recognizes the individuals and organizations that work to overhaul systems and lift up experiences that need to be heard. Our Legacy stories start off a year-long retrospective, inspired by the publishing of our “35 Years of Minnesota Women” book, designed to celebrate the power of our voices as well as help us see patterns from our past.
We take our mission seriously, as the longest continuously run feminist monthly publication in the U.S., to share stories that tend not to be visible. The publication began in 1985 when our co-founders saw the need to move women from the lifestyle pages of mainstream media and into the center of news and issues. We have not deviated from that mission, offering diverse voices in every magazine.
Our readers and community-based writers are integral to what we do. This month’s Changemaker nominations came from reader submissions and conversations with people in the community, before being culled down to 10 amazing individuals and groups.
Many heroic efforts have sustained Minnesotans this long year: healthcare professionals, domestic violence responders, people serving the unhoused, distance-learning teachers, childcare providers, nursing home attendants, face mask crafters, and public servants helping society function during this stressful time. We continue to celebrate the collective action involved in mutual aid donations, healthy food delivered to families in need, community artists, and more.
This has been a year of extremes — filled with some of the toughest challenges and most remarkable Changemakers. In the words of our vision statement:
As Minnesotans recover and rebuild from the pandemic, our emphasis in 2021 will be on telling the stories of regeneration — how is our state transforming as a result of reinvigorated energy surrounding anti-racism and anti-poverty work?
One of the ways we will do that is by reaching into some of the stories and commentaries we found when we dug into boxes of archival newspapers and magazines for our 35th anniversary book. There have been calls for equity and justice in our pages for decades.
In 1992, Linda Hopkins, cofounder of TeamWomenMN, responded to the nationwide uprisings that erupted when the Los Angeles police who attacked Rodney King were found not guilty. She wrote, “By endangering, impoverishing, and abusing the wives and mothers of our children, we endanger the basic providers of future generations. The only response to continual abuse is either rage or withdrawal.”
Our 35th anniversary book reveals anguish, anger, sorrow, frustration — as well as vision, persistence, progress, and hope. Environmental action, responses to gender-based violence, the growing numbers of women in politics, and the strength of feminist voices with solutions are some of the ways our pages have reflected the power of Minnesota women.
We take sustenance in the words of author Robin Kimmerer:
“What will endure through almost any kind of change? The regenerative capacity of the earth. We help create conditions for renewal.”
We are not immune to the losses that threaten the survival of community journalism. City Pages, an alternative newspaper in the Twin Cities for 41 years, is the most recent publication to announce its closure in our Twin Cities media community. We are working hard to continue to be able to provide our unique stories.
There are several ways you can support our ability to perservere in these challenging times.
Other ways to help:
If you or others need assistance, here are a few new pandemic-related resources:
We are deepening online content, including additional Perspectives columnists and our ongoing Ecolution series. We are expanding Transforming Justice coverage, thanks in part to funding by the Minneapolis Foundation.
How have you found joy and inspiration during the winter months? Send up to 250 words by January 10 to [email protected]
“This is our work as humans in this time: to build good culturally and socially, and to create potential for the future.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer
In the News: Ethnic Studies, Diwali, Eugenics History