Me quilting up a storm.

Me quilting up a storm.

The women’s movement which began about 1970 in the United States of America has made women’s lives better in many ways – but there is much work left to do.  With your help we can finish the job.   Rather than reviewing the history of this movement, or elucidating the issues further than has already been done, or holding up role models of individual women who have made a difference, I believe we need to think about and talk about strategies.  The need is urgent, for many reasons, and so I hope to offer practical next steps as well as a longer term context.

Unfinished Business: Future of the American Women’s Movement  is both an online book and a video documentary.   Together these two initiatives form “The Unfinished Business Project,” one that will evolve and change over the next year as I continue creating it, and as feminist thinkers around the country contribute their thoughts and experiences.  The purpose of the project is to engage everyone in improving the status of American women.  We will offer and consider strategies which might, or might not, be different from those we have used in the past 40 years.

The project builds on my work over the past 40 years as an active feminist — but in addition I am learning as I go. At this writing I have recorded video interviews with 24 women in four states, diverse in every way including the issues they are working on.  Already many others are responding and contributing, and I hope you, the reader and viewer, will respond as well.

Both the book and documentary will briefly review the progress made to date, briefly identify the key women’s issues, and then address “who, what, why, where, and how” questions about next steps.   You know already that there is no monolithic leadership for our movement, no single issue, no single strategy, and no single way of showing your commitment.  I hope to offer a range of suggestions, with thoughts about which ideas may be more effective, efficient, or fun than others — depending of course on your interests, your resources, and your geography.

How to navigate this blog, and how to follow this project?  The “About” page here will summarize the project, and update progress from time to time.  The “Outline” page lists the book chapter titles, which will correspond to the 28-minute video segments with similar titles, so you can see what’s coming up next.   The “Guests and Crew” page lists those who have been interviewed so far, as well as indispensable technical and editorial helpers.   On the right side of the page, you can review comments sent to date.

The posts on the home page will include “short versions” – trailers for the documentary and summaries for each chapter – as well as the full book chapters and Youtube links to the 28-minute video segments.  The video segments can also be seen on the St Paul Neighborhood Network public access television station (currently airing every Wednesday at 8PM and every Thursday at 1PM).  Please feel free to share this material and these links, and refer your friends and family to this site to stay engaged.  You have my permission to use this material in any way you think will be helpful, but please give credit to the project, offer ways new readers can be engaged, and I appreciate your letting me know when you share.  If the other feedback loops are too cumbersome, please feel free to send messages via email, to MinnBonnie@gmail.com.  Forward!

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BW ancestors & 5 culturesHere’s the full cover photo for Unfinished Business: Future of the American Women’s Movement.  Top, L to R:  my grandmother Mabel Crawford MacDonald, my mother Peace Mabel MacDonald Watkins, and me, Bonnie Peace Watkins.  Bottom, L to R:  my grandmother Dorothea Watkins; my family with me, daughter Cecelia Peace Watkins, son Johnny Andres Watkins, and husband John Michael Zakelj; and “family of woman” friends Bridget Rosario-Vega, Na Vang, Uma Janga, and Melissa Nambangi.  Grandmother Mabel from a painting by Mike Rossberg, Peace photo from the Syracuse NY newspaper circa 1939, photos of me by John Zakelj, grandmother Dorothea photo courtesy of Aunt Dottie Watkins Clark.

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Coming Soon! Unfinished Business

The “Introduction” video for this series will be submitted to public cable access on the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) on Monday, October 30, 2013.  We’ll let you know when it will air there.  Soon after, the video will also be available on Youtube, and we’ll post the link here.  The text for the “Introduction” chapter will appear here soon also.  Stay tuned!

P.S. The header image here shows my grandmother Mabel Crawford MacDonald, my mother Peace Mabel MacDonald Watkins, and me, Bonnie Peace Watkins.  Sometimes I call myself “Peace’s Bonnie,” as many of us re-named ourselves after our mothers in the 1970s.  Explained more on my other blog, http://minnbonnie.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/i-am-peaces-bonnie/


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