Ms. Magazine
The Activist Issue
Keeping the Flame Alive
Take inspiration from the lives and work of six women whose passion for justice and commitment to their communiities make the world a better place for all.
- Kitchen Table Candidate: Winona LaDuke
-Speak Truth to Power: Kek Galabru, Wangari Maathai, Senal Sarihan, Maria Teresa Tula
- Street Fighting Woman: Cheri Honkala
- Mementos of a Movement: Coline Jenkins-Sahlin

-Word: Bush

Honey, Disney Shrunk the Kids
What's in your child's VCR these days? We asked progressive parents and their kids what they watch. The answers might surprise you.
Dorothy Roberts talks about reproductive rights in black and white.
Women and Venture Capital: Women vie for a place in the world of high-tech venture capital.

Work Notes: Grrl power to Scotland ASAP and more
Editor's Page: Making Mischief

Ms News

TECHNO.FEM: Digital Divide

-Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?, by Angela Dillard
- Toy Guns, by Lisa Norris
- Boy Still Missing, by John Searles
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Women and Popular Music, by Sheila Whiteley

-First Person: Give Me Shelter
-Columns: Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria Steinem
Call for Woman of the Year
Tell us who you think should be recognized in this special issue.

During the weeks when the Florida vote was being contested, my e-mails went into overdrive. They moved to warp speed when the president "elect" announced his cabinet, especially the nomination of John Ashcroft for Attorney General. My phone rang off the hook when George II reinstated the global gag rule (don't discuss or advise on abortion, much less provide one) on all international agencies receiving U.S. government funds. Next the initiative on race got the boot and then there was the brouhaha about keeping or closing the Office of National AIDS Policy.

I shudder to think what may happen during the weeks between my writing this and the magazine reaching you. But I have no illusions about what life with Mr. "can't we all be civil" in the White House is going to be like. While he rhapsodizes about compassionate conservatism in carefully crafted speeches in Hallmark-cute settings, his administration will be eviscerating environmental and worker-related rights and protections; stroking mega-businesses; undermining Roe v. Wade and the remains of affirmative action; ignoring calls for racial, gender, and economic justice; packing the courts; and widening the gap between the haves and have-nots.

No matter that he didn't win the popular vote, George II and his merry band are banking on our running out of steam in the face of their indifference. I heard an echo of that in the plaintive "What are we going to do?" comments from some folks who seemed inclined to hibernate for four years.

My nana used to say, "We'll sleep in eternity but we work while we live." And the work isn't just about what we do to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. It's what we do to make this world livable for ourselves and for others. We dream, and work to make dreams reality. We hope, and work to breathe hope into life. We believe in justice, equality, and opportunity for all. So we stand up for our beliefs and work for them — tearing down the walls that prevent access, breaking through the doors that keep so many at bay, challenging and changing bad laws and lawmakers and supporting the good ones.

That doesn't mean living life on a somber note. In the midst of those serious and angry e-mails, phone calls, and conversations, there were plenty of jokes and laughter. It's the laughter that leads to creative, mischievous activism, like folks sending donations to repro-rights groups in George II's name for President's Day — and sending him a card announcing the good news. It's the kind of action that the late, great Flo Kennedy would have loved. Just as she would be challenging us to move our "activist asses," she would also be encouraging us to dance, laugh, and have a good time raising hell. An indefatigable champion of justice, Flo, who would have been 85 this year, was fierce, fearless, funny, full of love and a zest for life. She was the first free woman I ever met.

In this issue, Gloria Steinem pays tribute to Flo Kennedy, who died at the end of last year. And knowing that we are going to be challenged on so many fronts in the months, and years to come, we're profiling a number of women, activists all, who are standing up, speaking out, and meeting the challenges in their corners of the world. Although most of us will never face the dangers these women do, we do our part, standing up to the politicians, in our communities (sometimes in our own families), our school boards and state houses, our places of work, worship, and play. So sisters, let's laugh and dance and shake our activist asses, make mischief and make sure that George II knows we won't be silenced, won't be passive, and won't be stopped.