Author Rachel Naomi Remen tells the true story of a woman, standing at a street corner with her husband, waiting for the light to change, who commented that a building across the street was beautiful. He scolded her for being “stupid.” The light turned green. Before stepping off the curb, an elderly woman in front of them turned around and said to the woman, “I agree with you. I love that building.” She turned to the man. “And you, sir, are an ass.”

Ramen's story encapsulates what I think 
women are heading toward in 2018. Calling 
out unacceptable behavior, naming it, and 
attempting to reach equilibrium in a society 
that is ill. Creating a future in which women 
are not only protected by the Equal Rights 
Amendment, but are actively stepping up 
the pace to bring a new style of leadership 
to issues of economics, justice, and other 
topics we cover in these pages.

When the Minnesota Women’s Press 
starts to host Conversation Events this year, 
we are starting a long-term relationship 
with our growing community that 
spotlights women doing what we do best: 
communicating, collaborating, and acting 
into a powerful future.

First up: an April 25 gathering that kicks off a Year of Powerful Everyday Women events (tickets at

Listening Into Action

When Sheila Wellstone was a shy librarian 
and mother, she read a short newspaper item 
about domestic violence and was inspired to 
open up discussion around Minnesota. At 
the time it was a taboo issue, believed to be 
a private matter between husband and wife. 
Her conversations led to pioneering U.S. 
legislation. Years ago, I facilitated interviews 
by middle school students for a book about 
how the Wellstones made change happen. 
One of the contributors to that book is Siena 
Iwasaki Milbauer, now 18, and a writer 
for this magazine. She was impacted by 
what she learned, and now volunteers at a 
domestic violence shelter. 

From 1976 to 2015, Michfest, an 
international feminist music festival was 
held in a wooded area of Michigan. It 
was started by a 19-year-old and grew to 
include as many as 10,000 women, many 
of them lesbians who found each other 
in community for the first time. I talked 
recently with a local woman who was part 
of Michfest. "It's about connecting with 
respect around shared values of conscience 
and courage," she told me.

At the "My America" event at Penumbra 
Theatre last month, I heard powerful stories 
from a diverse group of everyday people. 
A 14-year-old girl described how she lives 
in two Americas — one where people who 
say they are inclusive actually ‘Other’ her as 
disabled, and another where they do not. 

We change paradigms by using our voice 
and vulnerability and power in conversation. 
We help others change paradigms by making 
space to listen and inspire. 

Pivot Points

The elderly woman on the New York City 
street corner in Remen's story never knew 
what a pivotal moment she had created. 
Yet her simple comment tipped the wife 
out of normalizing abusive behavior and 
into acknowledging to herself that, yes, 
her husband was an ass. She set things in 
motion and, a year later, filed for divorce. 
She became a domestic violence advocate.

As we discussed in our March 2018 
issue, it is this ecosystem — this tapestry 
— of our connected lives and experiences 
and perspectives that intersect, one upon 
another. We do not often know the impact 
we have on each other. 

As Powerful Everyday Women, we 
continue to call out unacceptable behavior, 
inadequate systems, implicit bias, and the 
need for accountability. We continue to 
establish innovative solutions in relationship 
with one another. In so doing, we build and 
bridge stronger communities.

That is what this issue is about.

That is what this Minnesota Women’s 
Press community is about. 


It is in connection and 
collaboration that we 
become what we are: 
Powerful. Everyday. Women.