Happy September! It’s hard to believe that fall is here. What a year this has been. A t-shirt I saw advertised on Facebook rated the year with one star out of five and said, “2020: Would not recommend.” I concur.
However, there is much to be learned from challenges, and this year has provided many educational opportunities. I have been coming to terms with my relationship with racism and understanding that I am much happier when working toward important causes, even when I am unpaid. I realize how much I enjoy a slower paced life. I continue to learn about my strengths and weaknesses in personal and professional situations, and I recognize that I really am not cut out to be a teacher (thank you, distance learning).
In these pages, you can meet a woman who learned that she’s happiest when teaching teenagers important life skills so that they can avoid making the mistakes she herself made (p. 12). Meet four women farmers who are happily improving the world through the food they grow and raise (p. 36).
For some local fun, check out a recent girls’ trip to Zumbrota (p. 25). Learn about National Hispanic Heritage Month (p. 10), walk through the complex history of race in Rochester (p. 31) and drop in on a conversation with Rochester’s first female mayor (p. 20).
I have to tell you that our last issue inspired some pretty ugly responses. Multiple people let me know that they thought it was too political. One man emailed me to let me know that he didn’t appreciate getting the magazine in his mailbox because he was vehemently against my “political and sociological beliefs.”
Let’s be clear: Telling the story of strong young women who are working for equal rights is not political. Imagine that one of those young women on the cover was your daughter, sister or granddaughter. How would you feel if it inspired such negative feedback?
Hurtful though it was, however, it was another learning opportunity. Getting a glimpse into being on the receiving end of racism (though my experience is nowhere near what others experience in a much more frequent and personal way) only magnifies the urgency to use my privilege to amplify voices that have been muted in this community. Please join me: Thank the advertisers in these pages for their support, read about white privilege, donate time or money to organizations that fight for equality. Most of all, try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Learning about others’ experiences is a valuable way to make positive change and spread kindness wherever we go.