Category Archives: gender

Remembering the 1960s (and 70s)

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If you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t really there.”*

The old quote has some truth in it, but if you want to remember the 1960s (which really ran over into the 1970s), Dianna Hunter has a book for you. She will be at the East Side Freedom Library on June 19 to read from her memoir, Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life. Continue reading

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Lessons from Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

an-injury-to-one-vertYesterday, July 31, was Black Women’s Equal Pay Day. Serena Williams wrote an eloquent column for Fortune, explaining just what that means:

“I’d like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day. To recognize that women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year. To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17% less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level. This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley.”

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Water is life

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Eryn Wise, with her niece.  Courtesy photo

“We are caretakers,” says Eryn Wise. “We are life givers. We are keepers and protectors of the sacred. I think women more than most people understand the connection to water. Simply because we are born from it and we carry it inside of us to give life to others.”

Women have stood at the center of the Standing Rock water protectors since the beginning. The water protectors began their first encampment, Sacred Stone Camp, on April 1, 2016, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. They insist that the pipeline violates indigenous and treaty rights, as well as endangers the drinking water of people who live on the reservation and millions more downstream.  Continue reading

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Words matter

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Tish Jones, courtesy photo

As long as she can remember, Tish Jones has loved words, loved writing and loved being on a stage. A self-identified student of hip-hop culture, she traces her passion for words to African diasporic cultural practices, including the griot, hip-hop, jazz, funk, bebop and blues. Now she’s a poet, spoken word artist, and the executive director of TruArtSpeaks – an organization she founded to cultivate spaces for youth and community, especially through hip-hop and spoken word. Continue reading

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Anne McKeig: Minnesota’s first Native American Supreme Court Justice

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Photo courtesy of MN State Judicial Branch  “Find a mentor – find someone you like and ask them to be your mentor.”  – Anne McKeig

Growing up in Federal Dam, population 108, Anne McKeig never met a lawyer. She and her brothers spent most of their time outdoors: roaming the family’s 40 acres, building forts, tending three big gardens, hunting and fishing. At age 13, she started working, first washing dishes in a supper club and later waitressing.  Continue reading

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L-R: Bo Thao-Urabe and Kaoly Ilean Her  Photo by Mary Turck  “We are the experts on our lives and on our needs. Women have to speak up. Women have to organize if we want to elect someone who will care about us.”  – Kaoly Ilean Her

The first Hmong candidates to win elected office were Minnesota women: Choua Lee on the St. Paul school board in 1991 and Mee Moua in the Minnesota Senate in 2002. Now, in 2016, Minnesota has the first Hmong women’s political action committee: Maiv PAC. (“Maiv” is pronounced “my,” which is a term of endearment.)

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The beginning and end of rape

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Sarah Deer’s powerful new book, The Beginning and End of Rape focuses on sexual violence in Native America. The beginning goes back to the European invasion, with rape used as a tool of genocide and conquest. Now, as then, when European American men rape Native women, U.S. legal systems help them escape punishment. In an eminently readable book, law professor and MacArthur genius grant winner Sarah Deer describes the historical trajectory of rape and rape laws, beginning with the historical connection between rape and conquest / genocide / white patriarchy and legal systems. Continue reading

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Good news — and we really need it

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After the tragedy of Orlando, followed by outrageous and hateful political reactions, we need some good news. And we have it. One of the good news stories is related to Orlando, and the others come from Minnesota. Continue reading

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#Orlando — What can we say?

More love, less hate

After the hatred, after the massacre, what can we say? No words can make anything better. And yet we speak, because we are human, because we use words to connect with one another and to express our grief, our outrage, our solidarity. So — some words gleaned from my Facebook and morning news: Continue reading

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Turning points for hope: Ferguson and Stanford

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In 2014, the police shooting of Michael Brown brought young people pouring into the streets. Their anger, their courage, their commitment quickly flowed beyond Ferguson and police to challenge multiple forms of institutionalized and structural racism of this country. A new generation marched into the streets. Rage and grief sparked their activism, conviction and solidarity sustain them.

On June 2, Judge Aaron Persky gave Brock Turner, the Stanford rapist a slap-on-the-wrist sentence of six months in jail, which means he’ll probably serve three. An eloquent 12-page statement from the Stanford rape victim sparked outpourings of anger and support. Rather than marches in the street, protest took the form of women telling their own stories of sexual assault, of a million-signature judicial impeachment petition, of at least 10 prospective jurors refusing to serve under Judge Persky in other cases, and of statements of solidarity including an open letter from Vice President Joe Biden. Continue reading

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