I had a moment at church last week. The reading was Proverbs 31, and I had to read it to the congregation. Just a few days before, at book club, I listened quietly while we discussed two books on feminism. Proverbs 31 came up and the women in the room expressed frustration with the expectations that passage has put on them.
So, this frustration fresh on my mind, I had to step up to the podium and read Proverbs 31. For those who don’t know, it’s the account of the nearly perfect woman. In many Christian circles it’s held up as the example women are to aspire to. Continue reading A Moment in Church: Women, Kavanaugh & Proverbs 31
A sexism controversy erupted in West St. Paul this spring. Men challenged women who stepped forward to serve, and then sat silently, refusing to explain their issues. Men ignored the concerns women raised.
And something very similar has happened in the primary campaign. Two men and two women are running for the ward 3 city council seat. The men have refused to answer questions. They skipped out on a candidate forum. They haven’t even put forth a platform or taken positions on issues. They’ve just put their names out there and assumed that voters will hand it to them.
It’d be ironic if it weren’t so sad.
I’ve said this primary election is a moment of truth for West St. Paul. And I believe that. It’s a referendum on this lazy, sexist approach to politics. It’s a turning point—will we accept inappropriate behavior or do we want something better?
I’ve written plenty about this primary, so let’s not rehash it. My many posts are linked below.
And yeah, I’m a big fan of Erin Murphy for governor.
Wendy Berry is running for city council in West St. Paul’s Ward 3. I’ve already explained why I’m voting for Wendy Berry, but I wanted to share the inspiring moment when Wendy launched her campaign.
Below is the speech Wendy gave at the pivotal May 14, 2018 city council meeting. The room was packed with more than 150 people and the citizen comments went on for nearly two hours as residents condemned the sexist behavior of certain members of the council.
This is the speech that launched Wendy’s run for city council. You can watch the entire speech online or read it below.
My Original Announcement to Run for City Council
Back in May, with a standing room only in council chambers, a line of amazing, strong women shared their experiences and their desire to see some change with our City Council. It was as that same time that I officially announced my intent to file for City Council for Ward 3. August 14th is the Primary Election and three months after this meeting. I'm so proud to have gained so much support and to see the level of engagement we saw at this meeting has only intensified.
Posted by Wendy Berry for Ward 3 West St. Paul City Council on Friday, August 10, 2018
Continue reading Wendy Berry’s Speech Launching Her Campaign for City Council
The candidate filing period closed on Tuesday and the last chance to withdraw ended yesterday, so we’ve got our official candidates for the 2018 election in West St. Paul. How do the 2018 candidates stack up in terms of the current hot-button issue in West St. Paul: sexism?
The April 23, 2018 council meeting erupted into charges of sexism over the rejected appointment of Samantha Green that spawned harassment of Mayor Jenny Halverson and Green, as well as an estimated 150 people showing up at the May 14 city council meeting and another 75 or so at the May 29 city council meeting. The story sparked local news coverage and even national attention.
Obviously this isn’t the only issue in the 2018 election, but it is a big one. So where do our newly minted candidates stand? Continue reading 2018 West St. Paul Candidates on Sexism Controversy
Last night’s West St. Paul city council meeting was incredible. Women came out in droves and packed the city council chambers—bearing tampons—to protest sexism.
More than 150 residents showed up (is that a record for a West St. Paul city council meeting?) and citizen comments went on for an hour and a half as women berated the sitting council members, detailing stories of harassment, mistreatment and—at best—neglect.
The tensions spilled over after the overt sexism on display at the previous city council meeting on April 23, but as Mayor Jenny Halverson testified (and former council member Darlene Lewis, who served from 2005 to 2012, confirmed), sexism has been an ongoing problem.
The tampons were part of a Pad Drive where feminine hygiene products were donated to a local food shelf (and over $2,600 was raised online), after the mayor and another citizen were harassed.
Many of the woman dressed in green and wore buttons quoting Mayor Halverson, “This will not be forgotten, folks!” Continue reading Women Confront West St. Paul City Council
The West St. Paul City Council meeting on April 23, 2018 was a curious descent into misogyny and sexism. It can be a little hard to follow city council meetings if you’re not aware of the entire history and context. Sometimes it seems our elected officials rely on that fact. You can always watch the video yourself (11:51 in the council video), but I’m going to try to clarify some of what happened.
Here’s the short version: Mayor Jenny Halverson appointed three people to fill vacancies on the Planning Commission. City council has to approve those appointments. In the past, mayoral appointments have mostly been honored, though that hasn’t been the case for Mayor Halverson. Two of Halverson’s appointments were confirmed, and a third was rejected. Two of the council members who voted ‘no,’ (Ed Iago and John Bellows), argued back in 2015 that mayoral appointments need to be honored.
That honor seems to have disappeared in 2018, during the term of West St. Paul’s first ever female mayor, while considering female appointments.
So let’s look at what happened in more detail. Continue reading West St. Paul City Council: Sexism in Appointee Debate?
Let me start by saying I don’t like Hillary Clinton.
But I got teary eyed watching her tonight during the Democratic National Convention. There were two moments that got me: Her introduction video when she said, “See, you can be whatever you want to be,” and in her speech when she talked about women getting the right to vote and her mother being born before women could vote and her daughter being able to vote for a woman for president.
All my life women and minorities have had the right to vote and have had other equal rights and I’ve never thought much of it. But when you realize that only white men have ever been the face of this country’s highest office, it sends a clear message and you begin to wonder about those equal rights. It’s one thing to say a woman or a black man or a Latino woman or a Jewish man could be president, but it’s another thing to see it happen.
I got teary eyed because this election year a woman and a black man had a chance to be elected President of the United States, and for the first time I realized what that meant for my daughter and my soon-to-be-adopted black child. I can tell them, and reality will back me up, that they can be whatever they want to be.
You could say that fatherhood has made me soft, and you’d be right. Thanks to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for proving you can be whatever you want to be.