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Think Global: 31 Ideas For Women’s History Month

By Karis Thompson
Artwork by Anna Lee, Maria Cristina Tavera, Dyani White Hawk and Laura Youngbird.

Esteemed Readers
The smile provoking spring is confidently waltzing away from the glacial Winter!he month of March is special for me for many reasons:

1.  March 21st is my « Thank You Mom for Bringing me to Earth Day » aka my birthday: 3 decades ago my Honorable Mother gave me this precious and unique gift called LIFE

2.  A historical day as well because this same day I was born in 1990 Namibia got its independence from South Africa > Independent Namibia and I are the same age!
3. In recognition of Women’s History Month, Karis Thompson invited people in our community to generate ideas to help us learn about and from Women who shaped the United States’ History or HERstory influenced by SHEroes, and ingeniously compiled 31 ideas contributed by artists and entrepreneurs, scholars and teachers, faith and public leaders, volunteers and organizers in our corner of America.
I hope these mind-expanding ideas intrigue you and provoke a deeper introspection in the historical role of women in shaping the USA. I know, I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the numerous stellar women role models that guided and still guide me through this adventurous path called: Life!

Happy spring!

Alexandre Cyusa 

Thirty-one ideas – contributed by community members – for learning, honoring and extending the work of “American women of every race, creed and ethnic background [who] helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways …” (Presidential Proclamation, 1982)

Challenge yourself to read one poem by women poets like Marie Howe, Rupi Kaur, Sharon Olds or Mary Oliver every day this month. Poetry enables us to feel less alone in our experiences as women, mothers, sisters and community builders.– Brenda Weiler, Owner, Ecce Yoga

Start a conversation about this insight from human rights activist and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, “The battle for the individual rights of women is one of long-standing and none of us should countenance anything which undermines it.” – Dawn Morgan, Executive Director, Spirit Room + President, Fargo Neighborhood Coalition

Spend time with Southern Women: More Than 100 Stories of Innovators, Artists, and Icons featuring interviews with Southerners like Loretta Lynn and Sissy Spacek and tributes to Holly Hunter and Mahalia Jackson. – Mina Ali, Co-Curator, Discover Fargo and Designer, Liminal Spaces

Read “A Story of Two Quiltsin “Teaching Stories” by Judy Logan and ponder ways you feel inspired by and connected to women in your own life. Watch Kimberlé Crenshaw’s TEDTalk, The Urgency of Intersectionality. Pursue or share grant and fellowship opportunities from organizations like the American Association of University Women which disburses $4.3 million annually. Investigate expressive arts opportunities that highlight women’s experiences like the 2020 NOW Foundation’s Love Your Body poster campaign.  Cali Anicha, Educator and SEED Seminar Co-Facilitator and Owner & Practitioner, Whitebear Biometrics

Watch 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice to learn about Elouise Cobell, a MacArthur genius who sued the U.S. government for mismanagement of Indian trust funds, securing a $3.4 billion settlement. – Ruth Anna Buffalo, ND State Representative – District 27, Public Health Advocate; Citizen, Mandan, Hidatsa and ArikaraNation

Join Church Women United – a national interdenominational organization founded in 1941 with the guiding principle, “Agreed to differ, resolved to love, united to serve” – for a 2020 World Day of Prayer service written by women in Zimbabwe. – JoAnn Alger, Past President, North Dakota Church Women United

Friday, March 69:30 am @ Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral

Learn about Edie Windsor, an advocate for marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans, and women recipients of the North Dakota Rough Rider Award like educator Dr. Anne H. Carlsen, legislator Brynhild Haugland, educator Sister Thomas Welder and author Louise Erdrich. – Josh Boschee, ND State Representative – District 44 and Broker, Hatch Realty

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Anna Lee, An Adoption Story (in four parts)

These four paintings represent the core people involved in any adoption – adoptive parents, the child and the birth mother – and reflect Anna’s experience as a birth mother who has navigated the complexities of an open adoption for over 20 years. This “Collective” Painting – smaller paintings that fit together to tell a story through colors and shapes – can be preserved as a set or shared as individual paintings like a modern-day friendship necklace.

Recognize and honor mothers who have given birth to children they trusted other parents to raise and parents who have raised children another mother delivered.  Anna Lee, Artist and Creative Director, Workerby

Remember that no single person or parent can do it all. Play to your strengths, choose your battles wisely, get help when needed and prioritize. Read Erika’s posts about parenting at – Erika Buckhouse Hanson, Physical Therapist and Writer, Fargo Mom

Learn about Mary Sully, a Yanktonai Dakota abstract art pioneer born in 1896, by reading, “Becoming Mary Sully.” Read “Waterlily” by Mary Sully’s sister Ella Cara Deloria, an author and anthropologist. Support women artists of color like Alissa Allery, Anna Johnson, Leila Rastegar and Laura Youngbird by purchasing their work. – Netha Cloeter, Director of Education and Social Engagement, Plains Art Museum

Attend a screening of a 15-minute film, I Plan to Vote with My Daughtersproduced by Angela Smith’s NDSU Digital History and a panel discussion with Ann Braaten, Amelia Everhart, Alison Graham-Bertolini and Emily Kulzer, organized by Ashley Baggett at NDSU.

Wednesday, March 11, 7 pm @ Fargo Theatre

Visit the two local National Votes for Women Trail sites – the deLendrecie Building in Fargo (the headquarters for the ND Votes for Women League) and the Comstock House in Moorhead (the home of suffragists Sarah and Solomon Comstock). Check out We Want to Vote: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage at Bonanzaville.

Read Ann Braaten’s essays about early suffragist Kate Selby Wilder in the book, Equality at the Ballot Box: Votes for Women on the Northern Great Plains, edited by Lori Ann Lahlum and Molly P. Rozum.– Ann Braaten, Associate Professor and Curator of Emily P. Reynolds Costume Collection, NDSU

Spend time with the March graphic novel series created by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell. And Introduce people to each other – the most powerful thing we can do.– Sara Watson Curry, Moorhead City Council Member and Coordinator of Community Programs, Plains Art Museum

Watch City Dreamersa film about four innovative female architects/landscape architects – Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and Denise Scott Brown – who reenvisioned urban environments.– Heather Fischer, Architect and Educator, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, NDSU and City of Fargo Historic Preservation Commission Chair

Learn about influential Indian American women like New York Taxi Workers Alliance director Bhairavi Desai, neuroscientist and entrepreneur Rashmi Sinha and tech visionary Padmasree Warrior. Read The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee. Watch Mississippi Masala by Salaam Bombay.– Smita Garg, Assistant Director, Employer Engagement, NDSU Career and Advising Center

Take time for music and beauty. Watch Homecoming: A film by Beyoncé and Nigerian American beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina. A challenge for women of the diaspora – embrace and love your beautiful features and bodies.– Theresa Garrett, Co-Founder, Arise Communities and Customer Success Manager, Microsoft

Plant seeds for the future. Write a note to a young woman or teen in your life about the particular skills and passions you see in her. Remember women like Esther in the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament who found strength in God and their communities to do difficult and amazing things.– Elizabeth Lerohl Hiller, Senior Pastor, Dilworth Lutheran Church

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Maria Cristina Tavera, Legendary Beauty (2009), woodblock, 4 x 8 feet, Plains Art Museum Collection.

Listen to artists Gail Kendall, Maria Cristina Tavera and Laura Youngbird speak on a Women Artists Panel moderated by Anna Arnar.

Thursday, March 19, 6 pm @ Plains Art Museum

Spend time with the exhibition Generation: Women Artists in the Plains Art Collection before it closes on March 21. Follow @plainsartmuseum on Instagram to see the work by women artists comprising 11% of the Museum’s collection. #5womenartists

Update Wikipedia entries related to gender, art and feminism during Plains Art Museum’s Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. Tutorials, reference resources and lunch provided.

Saturday, March 21, 10 am – 2 pm @ Plains Art Museum

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Dyani White Hawk, Carry I (2019), buckskin, synthetic sinew, antique glass beads, brass sequins, canvas, acrylic, dyed feathers, 110 x 15 inches, courtesy of the Artist and Bockley Gallery.

Go see the exhibitions Responsibilities and Obligations: Understanding Mitákuye Oyásʼiŋ, featuring work by Clementine Bordeaux and Mary V. Bordeaux from Rapid City, South Dakota, and She Givesnew work by contemporary artist Dyani White Hawk.– Netha Cloeter and Tasha Kubesh, Director of Education and Social Engagement / Associate Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Plains Art MuseumDyani White Hawk, Carry I (2019), buckskin, synthetic sinew, antique glass beads, brass sequins, canvas, acrylic, dyed feathers, 110 x 15 inches, courtesy of the Artist and Bockley Gallery.

Read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and learn about the amazing gift she gave society – her stolen HeLa cells that became one of the most important cell lines in medical research.– Veronica Michael, CEO and Director of Sales, Prairie Products and the Chamber’s Professionals of Color Planning Committee Member

Engage the work of writers Robin DiAngelo and Ijeoma Oluo and reflect the intersection between your gender identity and racial identity.– Faith W. Ngunjiri, Director, Lorentzsen Center for Faith and Work and Associate Professor of Ethics, Concordia College

Watch the 2013 film Anita to learn about Anita Hill‘s life before, during and after Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

Read Unbought and Unbossed, the autobiography of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress and first African American woman Presidential candidate. Deepen your understanding of the contributions of women political leaders in North Dakota with Susan Wefald’s Important Voices.– Kjersten Nelson, Associate Professor, Political Science, NDSU

Follow intersectional women of color on Twitter – Twyla Baker (@Indigenia), Staceyann Chin (@staceyannchin), Kandace Creel Falcón (@kjcfalcon), Roxane Gay (@rgay), Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi), Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) and Bree Newsome(@BreeNewsome).– Zach Packineau, Public Heath Education Project Manager, American Indian Public Health Resource Center and Citizen, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation / Santa Clara Pueblo

Read about Florence Klingensmith, born in Oakport, MN, and one of the women aviators celebrated in Fly Girls | How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History, and Bessie Coleman, the first African American and first Native American woman to earn an international pilot’s license (years before Amelia Earhart piloted her first transatlantic flight) in Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator. – Hilary Ray, Artist and Owner, Barnesville Easels

Learn about the research and contributions of celebrated therapist Marsha Linehan.
– Lisa Richmond, Student, UND Master of Social Work Program

Watch American Revolutionary or read Living for Change to learn about Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American philosopher and activist who anchored social change movements in Detroit for 75 years. – Karis Thompson, Co-organizer, GROUP THINK and Strategist, Community Development, Redeemer Center for Life

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Laura Youngbird, Common Thread (part of a series created 2014-2015), courtesy of the artist.

Recognize and relate to women as water carriers and sacred givers of life. Support the work of the Fargo Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Human Trafficking Task Force.– Laura Youngbird, Artist, Educator and Member, Fargo Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Human Trafficking Task Force

Karis Thompson has lived in Fargo, since the fall of 2009. She co-curates and organizes GROUP THINK, a platform for public conversation, in Fargo, and works with Redeemer Center for Life, a neighborhood-based nonprofit in North Minneapolis.

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

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