Minnesota Women’s Press readers nominate wonderful people to be honored in our annual December issue. There are many more inspiring Changemaker candidates than we have the capacity to include. Our criteria as we winnow down the list: We look for people who have had unique impact that year, we aim to create a mix of people from different areas of influence, we honor those who have not been recognized in mainstream media (or in previous Changemakers issues).
Our stories in 2021 reflected the best of what we dubbed the Year of Regeneration. We included stories from people on healing journeys, communities revitalizing after the pandemic, and more.
The Minnesota stories reflected in these pages include shining examples of people who reimagine a better way: A mother-daughter team who question the way we serve basic needs, a long-time harm reduction activist, a journalist who holds media accountable, and several others. We also include our first bilingual story, with an advocate who has long engaged with survivors of domestic violence.
I gave a talk recently speculating how U.S. history might have been different if women had been in charge from the start. Would farm conglomerates have squeezed out small farmers and be focused on corn, soybean, and meat factories? Would the bulk of our crime reduction efforts be put into police budgets instead of violence prevention and healing trauma? Would the average pay of corporate leaders in 2020 be more than $24 million annually — a doubling in ten years — while the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour?
Caregivers on average make less than $10 an hour, while most top companies pay their stewards at least 100 times more than their median employees. Valuing profits over people is, to my mind, a chest-thumping, competitive approach that has gotten us, over hundreds of years, into the mess we are in now.
We cannot know how some of the major social issues of today would be different under radically regendered leadership. But we do know that women tend to be trained as collaborative caretakers. As I enter my fifth year stewarding stories of inspiring Minnesota movers and shakers — cis and trans women and nonbinary — I am asking you to join us in 2022: The Year of Solutions.
Historically, “salons” have been a regular social gathering of people, especially writers and artists, at a woman’s home. Decades ago, Minnesota Women’s Press used to gather people together for salons in its office. We would like to revisit the concept today, largely digitally, as we launch a new statewide Changemakers Alliance (CAll) in January. We will bring urban, suburban, and rural voices together — including feminist men — to talk about story ideas, solutions to long-standing issues, and solidarity around action steps. Donate to help us hire a Collaboration Coordinator (tax deductible option available until 12/31/2021).
Do you care about healing trauma, transforming justice, regenerating ecosystems, or building equitable and cooperative economies? Let’s talk about it together. There is much that we need to accomplish as changemakers.
Arts — Natalie McGuire: An Empty Frame in Texas
Spirituality — Amoke Kubat: Elder to Ancestor
Education — Bringing Vaccines to Reluctant Communities
BookShelf — Books From Minnesota Authors