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Place shapes our lives
Norma Smith Olson, left,
and Kathy Magnuson

"Landscapes make connections. You realize how the familiar is important to people."
- Michele Combs, read her story here

by Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson

Some of us are lucky to have a place where we feel safe and secure and loved. That is not true for everyone. Some find their place in the world to be violent and uncertain.

When we spoke with Israeli Rina Bar-Tal, Jordanian Rula Quawas and American Sandy Pappas for the feature story in this issue about their organization, Forward Global Women, they pointed out that our national place - the United States - has not seen war on our land for a long time. In our everyday lives in Minnesota many of us are not touched by war. But Israel and Jordan, among other countries, have been in conflict with one another or neighboring countries for years.

Bar-Tal spoke of the women from Middle East and North African countries who have never known peace. Their entire lives have been lived in a state of war. Yet, in August, women from these nations will come to the table in Minnesota to talk about peace, form bonds and work for change. "The negatives are much bigger than the positives. The problematic issues are much greater than the common issues," Bar-Tal says. "But I believe it is exactly that that gives us the edge. It gives us the thrill and the aspiration and the opportunity to make big change.

"[We] have the aspiration to do something together in spite of the differences or because of the differences. This is the challenge and the opportunity," Bar-Tal says.

In this issue you'll also find a story about the sexual exploitation of many Native American girls and women in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota that connects dots between abuse of the landscape and abuse of women. Patina Park and Taylor Broome, of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, share their concern for those caught up in sexual trafficking.


And, we asked you, our readers, to share your thoughts about powerful places - places where you feel connected or have a sense of belonging in a landscape. In this issue's theme of "a sense of place" we share women's stories of connections to Minnesota lakes and rivers, South Dakota prairies, childhood homes, city neighborhoods and a rural farmstead.

We wish for everyone to have places to be safe and to belong. Places to reflect, to feel energized or to be refreshed by nature or family connections. Where is that safe or sacred place for you?

Coming up:
September 2015's theme is "food for thought" and we're asking you: How is food a feminist issue? Tell us your story. Share your opinions. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Aug. 10, 2015

September advertising sections:
• Elder Guide
• Grrrls Go Green Guide
• Spirituality Guide
• GoSeeDo/Calendar Guide
Deadline: Aug. 10, 2015

Watch for the Minnesota Women's Directory with the September issue.

"Water women" is the theme for October, 2015. Rapids? Calm waters? Tell us about how you navigate in the flow of your life. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Sept. 10, 2015

October advertising sections:
• Health Guide
• Home Guide
• Women and Pets Guide
• GoSeeDo/Calendar Guide
Deadline: Sept. 10, 2015

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