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Do you have a calling?
Norma Smith Olson, left, and Kathy Magnuson
by Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson

Whether it's a whisper in your ear, a tug at your heart, a shove on your back, callings come to you in many ways. Callings can lead to the work you choose, a relationship you tend, a stand you take.

We're sharing stories in this September issue about women and girls who have answered their own "call." Meg Schrafft literally answers many calls in her shift as a crisis phone line volunteer. We talk with the "Nuns in the Hood" and members of the St. Joseph Workers Program who have answered a religious or spiritual calling. Jennifer Morris's divorce led her to founding a series of workshops and retreats for others coping with this life transition.

What you call or name something matters. The students at Ramsey Middle School in Minneapolis took action when they learned about our second state governor Alexander Ramsey's actions to exterminate the Native Americans in Minnesota. Read their story in Kathy's ActNow column about their thoughtful actions.

Our ThinkAboutIt piece in this issue addresses Afghan women who are not allowed to be called by their own names in public because they are considered to be a man's property.

What you are called or named matters. You may feel differently if you hear "Hi, Wonder Woman" or "Hey, Baby" as you walk down a street. The world sees you differently if you are called "Dr. Genius" or "Honey." A girl could see herself differently if she grows up being called "cute" or being called "smart," a princess or the boss. Boys are often encouraged to toughen up and hide their feelings, rather than be sensitive and thoughtful. They might be called a "wuss," or a "girl."

When the Minnesota Women's Press was founded more than 30 years ago, we put a lot of thought into what we were called. Of course "women" was what we were and still are about, but it was radical in the early 1980s to claim that word as a part of our name. The word "press" in our name mattered, too, and was supported by our first tagline, "A Woman's Place is in the News." The word "feminist" has been a hot-button word for decades. We are feminist. What you are called, and stand for, matters.

More hot-button words or names have been in the news lately - "white nationalists," "white supremacists." The word "nationalist" has become a sanitized attempt of presenting a public face to make actions taken by hate groups look a little less horrible. Words matter. What people or organizations are called matters.

We are often called to speak up or stand up at unexpected moments - when you witness violence, bullying, even a sexist or racist joke. It is easy to speak up in a group of friends with the same attitudes and values, less so when you are in the minority.

When you are in the majority - whether it is racial, religious, gendered or otherwise - you are especially called to speak up about injustices you witness. When you are in a position of priviledge and power, be called to use it for justice.

Coming up:

theme is "the earth is my home."What is your climate change story? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: September 10, 2017
• Health and Wellness Guide
• Her Money Guide
• Home Guide
• Women and Pets Guide
• GoSeeDo/Calendar Guide
Deadline: September 10, 2017

November's focus is "women's activism" and we're asking: How have you taken action or raised your voice since the Women's March last January? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: October 10, 2017
November advertising sections:
• Education and Lifelong Learning Guide
• Celebrations Guide
• Girlfriends' Guide to Giving
• Holiday Guide
Deadline: October 10, 2017

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