Changemakers Alliance: Key Topics for 2023

(l-r) Clare Oumou Verbeten, Maria Isa, and Zaynab Mohamed are running for the Minnesota legislature. Photo Sarah Whiting

Action: Elect Stronger Political Leadership

We talked with more than 30 Minnesota candidates and campaign advocates as part of the Women in Politics series in our new Changemakers Alliance (CALL) division. We discussed the socioeconomic hurdles that have limited most of our elected officials to heterosexual middle-aged white men — limiting the scope of perspectives that lead to policies and funding.

We talked about why women are strong leaders. Clare Oumou Verbeten, who is running for Minnesota Senate, told us: “My mom had to completely start over when she immigrated from Senegal — learn a new language, build a new career, and raise my sister and me. She is going to be damned if we lose our right to abortion access. So many of us can relate to really strong people in our life who have been through so much. That is the way we plan to lead, clear on our values.” This discussion will not end with the 2022 election.

Thanks to underwriters Ayada Leads, VoteRunLead, and Valvoline of northern Minnesota for enabling us to create this series.

Discuss: Co-Create Healthy Masculinity

Michigan Advance published an article titled “Misogyny Is Fueling the Country’s Gun Violence Epidemic.” It quoted an Anti-Defamation League report as indicating that we recognize and call out white supremacists who make their hatred known as extremists, but “we have not been nearly as unequivocal in our condemnation when it comes to men who express violent anger toward and loathing for women.”

The author of that report, Jessica Reaves, says this oversight is because “there is no cost to treating women like objects and talking about them as if they are subhuman. … The way we treat mothers and parents, the way we provide no support for child care, the way we don’t pay teachers enough. All of these things are rooted in the belief that women are not worth as much. That plays into why people can get away with quite literally murder when it comes to attitudes towards women.”

Says Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was targeted in an assassination attempt: “Threats continue. I have looked out my windows and seen large groups of heavily armed people within 30 yards of my home. I have seen myself hung in effigy.”

We are planning CALL conversations with Minnesotans engaged in reducing gender-based violence, as well as with people under the age of 30, to inform our March and April magazine issues.

Share your interests with us here if you would like to participate.

Solve: Trauma Is Killing Minnesotans

According to a series of stories by Minnesota Reformer, statewide overdose deaths hit a record high in 2021. Additionally, more than 1,100 Minnesotans died due to excessive drinking in 2021, which has doubled since 2014. Alcohol is the ninth-leading cause of death in the state, twice the number of traffic fatalities.

There also were 570 gun deaths in Minnesota in 2021, including 164 homicides and 393 suicides. Suicides account for roughly two-thirds of all Minnesota gun deaths.

We will be talking about how to improve public safety with trauma-informed care, addressing addictions and mental health, and adjusting gun access.

Learn more about Changemakers Alliance here.