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home : commentary : thisissue April 28, 2016

New year. New view.
Kathy Magnuson, left,
and Norma Smith Olson

"I want to see what is going on around me - notice those small things that bring a smile to my face or remind me of something."
- Melissa Jamrock, click here to read her story

by Kathy Magnuson and Norma Smith Olson

January was named for the ancient Roman god Janus, who had two faces - one looking back and one looking forward. It's a time of reflection and a time of setting intentions for the year ahead.

In this "new views" themed issue of the Women's Press, we're suggesting it's a time to look around yourself. A time of awareness, having another lens and seeing your personal space.

Our cover artist, photographer Amy Wurdock, was disturbed by what she heard about her Powderhorn Park neighborhood in the media. It always seemed negative - crime and drugs. She loves this Minneapolis neighborhood she's lived in for nearly 15 years and has a different perspective, a different view.

Inspired by other "365" photo projects, she gathered six other photographers and together they set the intention to share one photo a day to highlight images of their surroundings, each committing to a day of the week. "Powderhorn 365" was started in 2009, and photos were posted on a website and exhibited at neighborhood gatherings such as the Powderhorn Art Fair and the Empty Bowls Project.

Since the founding of the project, many more photographers have joined the effort of sharing photos to showcase their neighborhood and to build community. "I was thinking that this [project] would be one way to show that there are 365 amazing things about this neighborhood," Wurdock said. (See her story on page 18.)

Columnist Tami Mohamed Brown and MWP reader Melissa Jamrock write from a similar perspective of taking the closer look - reflecting on their daily commutes. What if Brown's 11-mile bus ride becomes an intentional break from her often frenetic pace? What does Jamrock observe as she walks rather than drives at 35 miles per hour on her usual path to work? "Can you imagine how much better things would be for everyone if people could just slow down?" poses Brown's bus driver. (See their stories on pages 28 and 29.)

Often there are things we would rather not see - or even avoid seeing. MWP writer Anne Hamre gives an update on sex trafficking of girls in Minnesota - something that many would prefer not to see in our "nice" state. (See story on page 8.) Thankfully, we have many advocates in Minnesota with a different vision - passing revolutionary "Safe Harbor" legislation to support, not punish, the victims of this crime. We applaud Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Erik Paulsen for introducing national legislation based on this Minnesota model, suggesting a "new view" for our culture.


You can read about other ways to broaden your personal view in this January issue, too. Topics include inviting a homeless youth or an international student to live in your home; anorexic vs. plus-sized models of beauty; Google searches for "women"; who decides on the Hmong bride price; reading a controversial book; and seeing and asking about disabilities. Read two profiles of artists who use their work to broaden perspectives of cultural identity and mental illness.

The challenge this January is to take a look around and see things in different ways, to develop a new lens or perspective. To ask "what would my life, my community, my world, my relationships look like with a different view?"

Coming up:
February's theme is "Locked in, locked up, locked out." When have you been in a cage but the door was open? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Jan. 10, 2014
February, 2014, Advertising Sections:
• Girlfriends' Guide to Grand Avenue
• Health Guide
• Women & Pets Guide
• GoSeeDo Guide
Deadline: Jan. 10, 2014

"Wordwomen" is our focus in March. What woman's words changed your thinking? Tell us about it. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Feb. 10, 2014
March, 2014, advertising sections:
• Camp & Activity Guide
• Elder Guide
• GoSeeDo Guide
Deadline: Feb. 10, 2014

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