Future First and the Women’s Congress come to Minnesota Nov. 7-9

Imagine a future where attitudes and behaviors have shifted from individualism and consumption to behaviors that care for the Earth and the balance of all living things. And women’s voices are heard.That’s the vision of Future First.Carolyn Raffensperger and Ann Manning spoke with the Minnesota Women’s Press about Future First and their plans for the second Women’s Congress. Raffensperger is a founder of the first Women’s Congress for Future Generations, held in 2012. Out of that effort Future First was formed. Manning attended the first Women’s Congress and was instrumental in bringing the second Women’s Congress to the Twin Cities Nov. Continue Reading

Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf: A new store helps enterprising young women grow professionally and personally

“We got the idea because we wanted sisterhood,” explained Asiya Firin as she spoke of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf,” a business started by high school and college-age women and their mentors.The young women are planning a late September opening of their store, which is located at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.The girls, of East African heritage, already had a Sisterhood group at the Coyle Center – meeting together in support of one another and having conversations they felt they could not otherwise have in their community. The group ebbed and flowed depending on the current leadership, but they wanted something more permanent.Creating a store was the answer.”Not a lot of young ladies get the chance to have their own stuff. Boys have more activities,” Kadro Isse observed.Ayan Adbullahi agreed: “Girls are often excluded from sports because they are girls.”The name of the new venture is a take-off on the book and movie, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” but the planners thought the word “scarf” better reflected their heritage.Besides bonding, the young women are learning about inventory control, marketing, pricing and business plans. They’ve found personal and professional growth, and they link that directly to being leaders in their community and leaders for the next generations.”By making myself successful, it makes my community successful,” Samira Ali said. “You can be productive with this. Continue Reading

‘Beloved child’: Diane Wilson on healing ourselves, transforming past harm and working for peace in our families and communities

Diane Wilson is a Minnesota author and Mdewakanton descendant. Her first book, “Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past,” retraces her family’s Dakota heritage across five generations and won a 2006 Minnesota Book Award. Her second book is “Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life.” Wilson is also the executive director of Dream of Wild Health, a Native-owned farm in Hugo, Minn., whose dream is to help American Indian people reclaim their physical, spiritual and mental health.She spoke with the Women’s Press about how we get to a place of peace-or not; the consequences of war and genocide; and the stories that are told.Minnesota Women’s Press: Where are the voices of Native people in the public discussions surrounding the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War??Diane Wilson: What has been important in the discussion was to hear a Dakota perspective on historical events rather than a non-Native filter.I ask: Is it a Dakota person telling the story? What is their cultural background? Continue Reading

Optimism in the midst of violence: The system through a domestic abuse victim’s eyes

“Experience the domestic court system as a victim of abuse would. See the courtroom and hear from advocates, police and prosecutors how the real world differs from what you see on ‘Law & Order.'” That is the description of the Domestic Abuse Project’s (DAP) Justice Tour. I learned many things from Ann Moore with the DAP and Lt. Kim Lund of the Minneapolis Police Department, who led the Justice Tour during a recent Friday noon hour.

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Gorilla Yogis: ‘Out of captivity of the studio and into the urban jungle’

Respect the unexpected.Do yoga, do good.Live in the ohm.Peace, love and bananas.That’s how Jessica “Yogarilla” Rosenberg, Nan “Thrilla in Gorilla” Gane Arundel and Lisa “Photorilla” Venticinque-the Troop Leaders of Gorrila Yogis-see their calling.As they describe it, how much fun would it be to do yoga in First Avenue to Prince’s “Purple Rain” or at the Minneapolis Farmers Market or to be in the James J. Hill house filled with other yogis?Two and a half years ago Rosenberg and Arundel realized that besides sharing a passion for teaching yoga, they also thought it would be fun to create an event together. The two planned a yoga session, inviting donations to the Smile Network and put the word out to their friends, families and colleagues. They thought maybe 20 friends would show up, so they were stunned when about 200 people came, raising enough money to repair one child’s cleft palate. The event was so successful that they have staged encore events in different locations for a variety of causes.In other parts of their lives, Rosenberg works as an industrial designer and Arundel works as a landscaper. They joined with Venticinque, a yoga instructor and photographer. Continue Reading