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YourThoughts November 2017
Coming Up:

December is our annual "Changemakers" issue What would you like to see changed for women or girls?" Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: November 10, 2017

The January issue is about power - how we define it, claim it, experience it, repurpose it - and we're asking: "Power? What does that word mean to you?" . Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: December 10, 2017

Study in activism
Sometimes, activism takes place in the classroom. I teach a semester-long Women's Studies course at an all-girls private high school. I have accompanied the students on their journey of learning about white privilege, rape culture, intersectionality and racism. Together, we have explored waves of feminism. We have gained insight, strength and courage from our foremothers' fierce determination and fight against injustices.

I believe, while subtle, this is a true form of activism - empowering the minds and hearts of young women to do in order to affect radical change in themselves, their peers and their communities and future world.

The class and I have grown even prouder of the founders of our school, the sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary, who centuries ago, believed in women's education. The Women's March continues in the classroom; Women's Studies allows my students and I to seek solidarity, justice and equality for others.
Amanda Rosas, St. Paul

Steps towards change
I wasn't in the country during the Women's March. I missed out on walking with my sisters and allies during this historic event. I followed along on the other side of the world, vowing to come back and continue to take action. As a Muslim woman of color, I was able to see myself in Linda Sarsour, inspired to use my voice, realize my power and wield it.

I've been organizing Muslim women in my community, mobilizing on issues like gun violence prevention, and helping low-income families with children move to work. We've been making ourselves known and heard by our state and federal senators and representatives. We're visiting the Capitol, writing letters, calling and taking action. We are stepping up, stepping out and creating change.
Nausheena Hussain, Brooklyn Park

Parenting is political
Once I had a baby, the activist labor of planning actions/meetings, going to panel discussions and meet ups most every evening screeched to a halt. And, in the quiet of a burbling baby who needed to be rocked to sleep and would wake up again 10 minutes later, I began to internalize how removed some feminist quarters I occupied were from the reality of so many women's lives.

It took more time still for me to realize that some of the most profound activist work I can do is not "activism." It is not shouting the right thing into the bullhorn, or rounding up the permit and building the engagement ladder, or deepening my understanding of privilege and pushing my own boundaries of what it means to accept and love your neighbor. I do not denigrate these things - I do them.

Giving my daughter a sense of love and justice, and encouraging her questioning and willingness to participate in collective activism, matters. The most profound activist legacy I leave behind may well be my parenting.
Erin Matson,
Arlington, VA

Add my voice
Sometimes I think about how one small person (such as I) can promote peace in a big, crazy world. These are really the same question. I ask the question more often lately - since the election, and the Women's March, since Philando Castile was shot, and since the rhetoric from Washington sounds (to my ear) like an attack on our most fundamental human rights.

The answer comes back to me, that there are many ways to protest and there are many ways to promote peace. What are our passions? How do we promote peace through our own purpose? One of my ways is to write: to write and connect and to add my own voice to this engine.
Laura Balfour, Minneapolis

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