Better than I could recall the year I found World Pulse, I can recall exactly the moment I picked up the first print copy. I was wearing a skirt and boots. It may have been Fall or Spring. I was in a co-op in Seattle and there it was – between O Magazine and The Shambhala Sun - beaming out at me! In that moment it was the only magazine on the shelf for me. Page after page was graced not only with stories about women but with women's stories – from their point of view!! I immediately wanted to write for this magazine! I read the entire magazine - cover to cover – and with the power of passing it on in mind, added two more to my basket and off I went.
One spring day in 2005, I was at work, enjoying my new part-time position as World Music Director for a community radio station, when I got a phone call from a friend. Our conversation went something like this:
“Barbie-Danielle? Hi, it's Karen. You speak Portuguese, right?”
Me: “I feel pretty comfortable in it...”
She: “Great. Do you want to go to Brazil? Say yes. You'll leave in two weeks. Oh, and you'll be escorting two teenage girls as part of a youth exchange.”
Yaaay, Brazil! Ohmygod. Teenage girls. Oh dear.
Why not? It couldn't be so bad, right? I mean, I was a teenager once...and still youthful...
(“Oh, and one of the girls has had some issues with juvenile detention.”) Oh. I see. Or so I thought.
I learned more about myself in those ten days in Porto Alegre, Brazil (Oh the irony in the name (!) which proved to be the antithesis of nearly every waking moment of that trip. My 'Happy Port' was baggage claim at Sea-Tac Airport).
We all returned in one piece. Profoundly changed. I had experienced a significant bump in my journey. Not just in the challenge of Teenage Hormone Negotiation (“No, you may not go out at night without an escort...”), but in some deeper institutional and systemic ways. There were some vital pieces missing in the lives of our teenage women, especially those caught in a relentless “criminal justice” system.
My response was a summer mentoring program at the radio station, engaging girls and young women to learn about communication and media tools to share their stories. I personally mentored and taught them all aspects of radio.
I connected to PulseWire in 2008 and have visited ever since. I didn't participate much, though I thoroughly I relished what others wrote. I'm stepping into my passion for writing now. I was going to apply to a writer's retreat but I was deeply moved by this unique opportunity to connect.
This is the right time, the write time. My personal vision is to activate women in the racial justice movement through storytelling and World Pulse put out the call. I'm here to fully respond.