Life After Kavanaugh Confirmation

Christine-Blasey-Ford-triumphantAnita Hill

Hello readers,

Where are we as activist feminists after the disastrous confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court?  I chose the above photo of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford for its strong and cheerful outlook, despite the pain I think we all are feeling.  Anita Hill, too – she is still out there kicking! There is so much pride and joy in seeing a woman stand up to power the way she did.  And I have much hope that this will re-energize our work.

I haven’t written for a long time, myself reeling from the painful dismantling of the Minnesota Legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women more than a year ago.  My project has been on hold (since before that) to publish a video and book series (Unfinished Business) highlighting the way forward for our movement, based on interviews with 36 women in 8 states.  (You can still see the first few episodes I did publish – just surf below on this blog.)  Two reasons for the hiatus.  One, while I am strongly supportive of Black Lives Matter, the movement for transgender rights, and the vital importance of “intersectionality” with all human rights and environmental issues, I often felt the energy was lacking for focus on what I now call the classical women’s issues.  Two, I have been enjoying and working on what it means to be retired, exploring community, health, relationships, family, and creative undertakings I had neglected for all those workaholic years.

By the way – What are the classical women’s issues?  I’ve simplified the 30+ issues from the Houston Plan of 1976 and Beijing Platform of 1985 to these five dreams:  51% representation of women everywhere;  health and health care that recognizes and supports women’s bodies as central to the human condition;  human rights and self-determination including abortion rights, lesbian rights, and right to an equal education;  safety and peace in our homes, communities, and the world; and economic justice including earnings, business, child support, pensions, and ending poverty.

But now, as we are all still reeling from daily Trump horrors, rise of the echoing right wing everywhere including our once-progressive Minnesota, and this Kavanaugh thing, I feel a little seed of energy coming back for “women’s work” – and hope you might, too.  I am reminded of the confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas, when Anita Hill powerfully spoke out.  There too it seemed we lost.  But the women’s movement was revitalized.  I dare to quote from In the Company of Women (Watkins and Rothchild, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1996):

“In 1991, the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the treatment of Anita Hill for her testimony on sexual harassment re-energized the movement.  The growing conservative mood of the country and the heightened power of the political Right brought home the fragility of women’s gains.  For many early feminists, none of this came as a surprise.  They had settled in for the long haul…”

Well, I am constantly surprised by the depth of misogyny and the shamelessness of patriarchy/capitalism.  But I am in this for the long haul!  I can’t say much more right now in part because I am working hard for the elections coming in just a few weeks.  But I hope you are there, maybe thinking and working and getting ready for another powerful wave of love, joy, laughter, and fixing the world.

PS: You may have come to this page seeking a group called US Women Connect, a member organization of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium.  I hope you will hear more about, and be a part of, THAT, in the months to come.  It’s on my agenda.   

1 Comment

October 17, 2018 · 11:16 am

OESW At Risk, Act Now

Tina Smith and DFL women legPosted in part as Minnesota State Coordinator for US Women Connect.

Let’s keep learning the INCONVENIENT FACTS about rural women, single moms, older women, and women of color – and maintain a nonpartisan resource with solid info about all 2.7 million women and girls in Minnesota.

Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, Governor Mark Dayton, and 24 women legislators spoke out on May 11 about the bill passed by House and Senate Republicans, which eliminates the staff for the legislative Office on the Economic Status of Women (OESW).   What a change from the days when there were only 6 women, grand total, in the legislature!  But still, women make up only 32% of the 201 state legislators, down from 34% after previous election. At the press conference, the women also opposed the pre-emption bill hurting local minimum wage & paid leave, and another bill killing campaign finance reform – both of which have disproportionately negative effect on women. Governor Dayton has vetoed these bills, but  constituents must keep the pressure on to be certain this vital office continues to give all of us the FACTS needed to improve women’s status.

Note that yes, sadly, it is women “across the aisle” who oppose the OESW along with others. Sometimes they say “women have achieved so much in the past 40 years – not needed any more” – but YOU know we are far from equality in representation, in economic security, in so many ways.  By the way, OESW is a ONE-person office, and eliminating it does nothing for the state budget.  Sometimes they say, “Oh we are just trying to strengthen it by supporting an advisory committee” – but hello, an advisory committee with no staff cannot undertake vital research or Greater Minnesota listening sessions as OESW staff have done. So – will you make sure YOUR state legislator knows your view on this?  Visit to download substantive reports.

Don’t know who is your state Representative and state Senator?  Please, please find out through the state “district finder”.  Many legislators will be voting whether to again pass the bill which eliminates OESW staff.

And the conference committees will be meeting again to consider changes to the bills they passed before – by the way, for this and many other provisions, there never was a public hearing or public testimony, provisions just inserted willy nilly.  So please consider leaving messages for the members of this conference committee:  KEEP staffing for the Office on the Economic Status of Women, in the State Government Finance Omnibus Budget Bill.

HOUSE members (all Republicans)

Rep. Sarah Anderson, District 44A, Plymouth, 651-296-5511.

Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, 13B, Sartell/St Cloud, 651-296-7808.

Rep. Bob Dettmer, 39A, Forest Lake. 651-296-4124

Rep. Kelly Fenton, 53B, Woodbury. 651-296-1147

Rep. Jim Nash, 47A, Waconia. 651-296-4282

SENATE members (4 of 5 are Republicans)

Sen. Bruce Anderson, District 29, Buffalo. 651-296-5981

Sen. Mark Koran, 32, North Branch. 651-296-5419

Sen. Dan Hall, 56, Burnsville. 651-296-5975

Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, 30, Big Lake. (651) 296-5655.

Sen. Carolyn Laine, 41, Columbia Heights. PLEASE THANK HER.   (651) 296-4334. 

Additional calls to THANK, besides Sen. Laine (above) who spoke at the pro-OESW press conference:

Sen. Sandy Pappas, St Paul, convened the press conference, 615-296-1802

Rep. Connie Bernardy, New Brighton, defended OESW, 651-296-5510

Rep. Rena Moran, St Paul, usefulness of OESW data to her authorship of the Women Of Color Opportunities Act, 651-296-5158

Thanks for your help with this, and please stay tuned.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” – especially when drastic changes are inserted into important bills seemingly in the middle of the night!





Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Video from the bus & DC march

One of my beautiful bus-mates, from Bus #4 named after Winona LaDuke, was Lisa-Marie Greenly.  She has made a great 10-minute video that can give you the feel for the long long ride and the excitement of being there.  Yes, there are signs with profanity and vulgarity — but that is what democracy (and passionate engagement by some who have not been doing this for decades – which is a good thing) looks like.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

More Signage for Women’s March

OK my armbands are done (two sets).  Ready to be registered as… whatever the new administration wants to register.  armbands

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Still Packing but Fired Up


Hello all, I am still recovering from a luxurious vacation in Mexico and at the same time trying to be ready to hop on the bus tomorrow WAY early for the Women’s March on Washington.  It will be a three day trip, 18 hours each way and something like 9 hours of rally and march on the 21st.  Here are the three signs I have so far, still planning to make  arm bands too.  Then food and clothes and a few other details!

I’ll be on the Winona LaDuke bus.  Love the “Resist In Peace” sign from Stacy Karzen.  Made my own womb sign, inspired by one from Iowa women.  And of course I’ll have my pussy hat thanks to Kiarina and Kristin… Stay tuned!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ready to March in Washington?

Hello friends,

get-your-ownOn the morning of January 20 I will board the bus for the 18-hour ride to Washington DC for the Women’s March on Washington.  Please feel free to check in here, and/or follow me on Twitter @MinnBonnie or @uswomenconnect.  And, make sure I have your Twitter handle and blog name so I can find what you are doing about Trump’s many threats to women’s rights.

I have a week to go and still thinking of what to wear to show my outrage and determination to make a difference. I have my official “Women’s March” long sleeved T and have ordered a sash – or think I have (hard to keep track of all the products).  I think/hope somebody has knitted me a pussy hat.  I have also ordered – but who knows if they will arrive in time? – several posters with the beautiful raised fist inside women’s symbol.  But I might also make a sign copied from the Iowa women, that has a big beautiful pink uterus and the words:  Get Your Own/ Then Tell It What To Do.  And, I am thinking if I can make (muslin and markers?) shoulder bands, one with the crescent and star (Muslim), one with Star of David (Jew), one rainbow (LGBTQ), and another woman symbol – and maybe a Stars N Stripes.  (Got two shoulders after all.)

Stay tuned.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Women of Color Opportunities Act

Dear friends, YES I still have a lot of unedited footage, from wonder-women in Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, and more, directly addressing the questions about next steps for the women’s movement.  I WILL get that to you in coming months.  Meanwhile, here is an important legislative proposal, the Women of Color Opportunities Act, from Minnesota state Representative Rena Moran.  In this press conference she is supported by Senate author Sen. Patricia Torres Ray and remarks by four brilliant women of color.




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

January 2016 update

Hello friends!  I have been a bad, bad person, or having way too much fun, depending how you look at it… but have not posted here for a year.  I DO plan to continue with the Unfinished Business project, as the need continues for women and friends of women (I also like the word “accomplices” as a suggested substitute for “allies”) to come together and achieve equality, justice, and a happy life for all.  For now, just a quick report on a discussion day I convened on August 26, 2015.  Here’s the first-draft collage of the wonderful 17 who attended. Auust 26 collage

Together we addressed the same vital topics I’ve been asking about in the video interviews:  How can we re-energize activism around women’s poverty, end violence, and ensure reproductive rights?  and, What strategies are needed in the next two years?  I’m very glad that 9 of the participants were women of color, though I need to hear more from Black women.  Bo Thao-Urabe and Kathy Wan Povi led the discussions.  I decided to audio-record, and hope to include many of these voices in upcoming chapters of the video project.  I still have about 35 pages of transcript from this day to summarize – not to mention many video interviews to get back to!  But now back at work.  Send me YOUR thoughts anytime, here or to

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Feminist Futures Status Report

Hello to all, I will soon be back in action adding several new chapters to this series. Just for today I am saying “Feminist Futures” as the phrase “Unfinished Business” is everywhere now – and all too often just about the past. Meanwhile, here are, in sequence, the parts so far published (with trailers).  Please add your comments, and watch for more soon!

Trailer for Introduction (2 minutes)

Introduction (28 minutes)

Text for Introduction (For the e-book – downloadable as a PDF, or in large print)

Chapter One: Yay for Women! (28 minutes)

Preview for a case study on strategies:  Ending Violence Against Women (5 minutes)

Here’s to you dear readers!  You can learn more about the chapter outline, and guests and crew lists, by clicking on the tabs at top of page.  And please add your thoughts about strategies for the future by clicking on “leave a comment” below. – Bonnie

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Road Trip Back East

Dear Friends of Unfinished Business, Although I have hours of editing yet to do for the dozens of interviews completed to date, I needed to hear from some more states and futurists – so I’m just back from a 10-day trip to New England and New York.  5 days of fun with friends, and 5 days of travel and interviews – which also seemed like fun with friends.  It was a great pleasure and big help to have a traveling crew – Olivia Wolf, who has just completed her first year at Macalester College, my alma mater, and a videographer in her own right.  Olivia lives in Portland, Oregon when not in school here in St Paul, and in her younger days lived in New York City.  Lucky for me, not only did she do all the setup and camerawork (with two cameras) for the interviews we undertook, but also I got to crash in her brother’s apartment on 56th Street when we were there, and she performed miracles of subway reconnaissance on her phone.  She was great company all around too.

Big big thanks also to two old friends.  Susal Stebbins I know from the 1990s when she was the lobbyist for Minnesota NOW before her travels to Nepal, Oregon, and many other places, now beautifully ensconced in Brattleboro, Vermont.  She introduced us to two wonderful women, picked us up at the Amtrak station, hosted us for three evenings (I got to sleep in her inspiring meditation room), drove us all over tarnation, cooked yummo fish tacos… all in addition to her serious gardening, college advising job and many other projects.  Christine Halvorson must have been around the same era when she was assistant director at the MN Commission on the Economic Status of Women, then in her new life as “the only paid blogger in the country” she became my social media guru, as she continues to be for many, in addition to producing the New Hampshire show about the fictional town of “Frost Heaves.”   Christine also found us the perfect woman to interview, drove us more than four hours to and from Portsmouth, helped with all kinds of setup and backdrop, pointed out the sights including best place to get real coffee… and, like Susal, joined in the warm, funny, intelligent conversation in the car on those long drives. Simply  wonderful women.

TINY summary of the interviews – I can hardly wait to edit!  The names are added to the top tab on “Guests and Crew” which is now at a total of 44 interviewees (wahoo!) and 20 crew (some overlap, not enough, as all the crew are good thinkers too), in 8 states.  Geography-wise, I think I will need to somehow get to the Southeast and Deep South… later.   In Keene New Hampshire, we interviewed Dottie Miller, Chief Officer for Diversity and Multiculturalism at Keene State College, New Hampshire, and her work-study aide Kirsten Agla who is 18 and a sophomore studying Spanish and sustainable product design.  Dottie:  “We don’t need to do the Olympics of Oppression.”  Then on to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where we interviewed Emily Rimmer who is the director of Women’s and Queer Services and runs the Center for Feminisms and the Queer Community Alliance Center.  Emily is 33 – wonderful age diversity on this trip.  In response to the hard questions about (for instance) melding trans-gender and feminist issues, she says, “We have to let it be messy.”

Next day we were off to Portsmouth NH to interview Mary Jo Brown, founder and president of Brown and Company Design, as well as president and first board chair for the two-year old New Hampshire Women’s Initiative, a merger of key government and nonprofit organizations bringing women together, and which this year contributed greatly to passage of a new state pay equity law.  With Mary Jo on her beautiful red couch were NHWI staffers Stephanie Kuhn and Nyomi Guzman, one in her senior year at college and the other a recent college grad.  All three are inspiring in their innovative thinking and commitment – and Mary Jo might just help us publicize the 10-word billboard messages interviewees have been thinking up.

Finally, another Amtrak ride later, back in Manhattan we got to interview three more really smart women:  Liz Abzug, daughter of the Congressmember and early feminist superhero, Ebony Wilkinson, and Christiana Desrosiers. Liz is (besides so many other great and wise things) the founder of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute which provides leadership coaching and mentoring to middle school girls, high school girls, and college women in the tri-state area.  Ebony and Christiana are graduates of the BALI program and now program associates.  They (like the other 900 women who’ve been through the BALI program) have been unleashed into the world, and the world will be a better place for that.  I want to get this program here in the midwest – at least.  So much more that I learned on this trip, so I had better get to editing so I can share this good thinking with you!

Manhattan women



Portsmouth NH women

Leave a comment

June 8, 2014 · 10:18 am