Mainstreet Women: Voices, Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts?

As I started writing about how Mainstreet Women define themselves, an article jumped out at me. The Kansas City Star newspaper – Mainstreet Women Paula and Julie’s home – reported History-making leaders are chosen for the Kansas Legislature.[i] The story had been picked up by, a daily that curates news stories about our government from across the U.S. The title made me curious enough to read further. The sub-headline:  “Ray Merrick is Johnson County’s first House speaker since 1982.” Then, sentence two:  “Susan Wagle is the first woman to preside over Kansas Senate.”  The article is 39 total lines, of which 26 are devoted to Merrick (along with a picture) and 10 that mention Wagle; “Although Wagle, 59, makes history as the state’s first woman Senate president, she thinks her election is more meaningful in another way:  she is a cancer survivor.” I reached out to the Star’s reporter, Brad Cooper, to ask why Wagle’s history-making feat got less print. Brad quickly responded and engaged in an appreciated email exchange with me. He pointed me to other newspapers that carried the story. He reminded me that papers gear toward local relevance. Next step, find … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: Unpacking Main Street #3

Mainstreet Women Question #1: Tell me a little about where you live, your main street or what you consider main street to be. (Post 3 of 3) Mainstreet Women I interviewed defined Main Street as place, people, and a philosophy. Women also described Main Street as a choice, a way to embrace diversity. And, women said its where passions, influence, and love join them together with others on this human journey. Whether hearing ourselves called Main Street initially puzzled, rankled or resonated, how about thinking of Main Street like this? "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home--so close and so small they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity."  Eleanor Roosevelt, 1953 MAIN STREET = PLACE FOR FAMILIES & NEIGHBORS I live in a neighborhood that feels like true Americana. For example, every 4th of July everyone pours out into the streets of our neighborhood for a big potluck. On … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: Unpacking Main Street #2

Mainstreet Women Question #1: Tell me a little about where you live, your main street or what you consider main street to be. (Post 2 of 3) “My Main Street, where I thrive, is the village. I want Main Street to be a place where my daughter grows up knowing the mail person, the shop owners; a place where she is friends with the oldest neighbor and the youngest. That’s the Main Street I want and I’m tired of being so divided – I want us to reach out neighbor to neighbor.” (Stefani, MO)   I don’t know about you but I’ve been actively mindset shifting since Mainstreet Women shared their magic wand call for authentic dialogue, less divisiveness, and greater tolerance. Like Cindy in NJ said, “I’m an everyday Mainstreet Woman. I work, I pay my bills, I pay my taxes.” And, Mainstreet Women’s immense power (80-90% of consumer influence in our nation, 53% share of voters) opened my eyes to the fact that we can lead the change we want to see – not just in ourselves – in our nation. While our elected officials in DC made the rounds of Sunday pundit shows this morning to make sure we know it’s the other guy’s fault, I heard the fiscal cliff ticking time bomb on Main Street. What if … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women: Unpacking Main Street

Mainstreet Women Question #1:  Tell me a little about where you live, your main street or what you consider main street to be. (Post 1 of 3)   “People think they speak for women. I don’t know who these women are they’re speaking for – they’re not me, not my friends or family.” (Beth, MS) Main Street + Women were my tell-tale heart in the run-up to the 2012 elections. What did pols, pundits, and the President mean when they called us all Main Street? It felt vital to know, to understand before exercising my citizen muscle and casting my one precious vote. Frankly, I felt dumb:  had I missed the Main Street memo? First I did what people the world over do:  I googled it. Gulp, about 820,000,000 results. Result one. Main Street® according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation (who registered the trademark, one of the reasons we’re called “Mainstreet” Women):  Main Street is the economic engine, the big stage, the core of the community. Our Main Streets tell us who we are and who we were, and how the past has shaped us… Our Main Streets are the places of shared memory where people still come together to live, work, and play. … [Read more...]

Mainstreet Women Manifesto for Tolerance: Using Our Power to Make Change Happen

Main Street Question #9:  If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the U.S. immediately, what would you change? (Post 1 of 2. 52 Mainstreet Women in 35 States & DC)                     #1: TOLERANCE:  MAINSTREET WOMEN CHANGE HOW WE TALK, THINK & INTERACT “With my wand I’d make dialogue happen again. I’m so tired of intolerance in so many ways. Can’t we just talk?” (Renata, NE) About 30% of Mainstreet Women voiced sadness and disgust that we’ve seemingly lost the ability to have conversations with one another on Main Street and in Congress. More than ending poverty, inequities or war, and even greater than our desire to feed our children, educate them and keep them safe, the most prevalent response had to do with us – we the people – our personal responsibility for how we talk, think and interact with one another. “I’d use my wand to do something that impacts everyone across the U.S., I’d create tolerance. Tolerance is something that we could all benefit more from, to open ourselves up and not be afraid of people who are different, who think or look different, to create communication without fear – create widespread tolerance, that’s what I’d do.” … [Read more...]

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