New Magazine Being Developed in Portland!
"World Birth," a magazine being developed right here in Portland, is unique in that it brings women and children into the forefront of global dialogue, and offers positive solutions to Internatioal problems. Join the people working on "World Birth" this Sunday, Dec. 8 from 2-3:30 at PSU's Smith Memorial, Cascade Room #234. Read more here about the woman who bringing it all together.
What do you do if you've been a freelance journalist in Burma and the Ecuadorian Amazon to report on the indigenous people's struggles against dictatorship and oil companies? You start a magazine, of course.
Jensine Larsen, a healing massage therapist by day, came to Portland from outside of Madison, Wisconsin to escape her small-town high school. "My childhood was very connected to the forest, animals, and streams. I moved to Portland as soon as I graduated high school (1992) to attend Lewis and Clark College because of its international focus & reputation for great overseas programs," she said.
"World Birth" magazine is Jensine's dream to bring women and children into the discussion of global issues. She saw that there were really no magazines written by women that concentrated on international issues. Even Ms. Magazine, that bastion of feminist thought, has only a small international news section. "The primary contributors to "World Birth" are leading women and children - a unique framework developed in response to the historical exclusion of women and children from powerful decisions that affect the earth's living creatures, economy, environment, and health. "World Birth" believes that it is time to listen closely to these vital voices and bring the neglected value, knowledge, commitment and passion of over half of humanity to the forefront of our global dialogue," according to "World Birth"'s introduction.
Bringing the voices of children into the fold is something that has never really been done before. But who better to comment on the state of the world than children, who are usually much smarter than adults? "Ultimately, weaving the values we teach our children into our international relationships - sharing, cooperation, respect, justice, and abiding by agreed upon rules - is the only way we can move toward a sound future for our deeply interconnected planet," continues the introduction to "World Birth".
Starting a magazine is hard enough, and starting one with international scope is even harder, as Jensine has found out. She began thinking about "World Birth" over 5 years ago. "She was the magazine I wanted to read. I wanted to get great international news & analysis, but the figures I wanted to hear from, namely powerful women leaders & writers, were missing in the media. I jumped into "World Birth" this summer. It's been a wild & fulfilling ride, with much more to come," she said.
Jensine has been working 24-7 to get it off the ground, while still keeping her 6-year private healing massage & energy work practice. It is set to debut in print and on-line in September 2003. The obstacles she's has to overcome include getting it non-profit status, which takes incredible time and energy, including putting together a board of directors. She is working with other feminist organizations to get women luminaries involved.
Besides her education at Lewis & Clark, Jensine also holds an independently designed degree in Comparative Third World Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Since I was a young girl, I've always wanted to get to the root of human pain and suffering, and understand why humans oppress each other, other living creatures, and natural systems. What has always interested me most, however, are the incredible stories of humans, who, despite all obstacles & suffering, continue to take great risks and follow their dreams and larger callings," she said.
This curiosity has led to her to the Burma-Thailand border, where she reported about the Burmese people's flight out of that country to escape the repressive dictatorship there. She had to work undercover, as the dictatorship does not like reports getting out about the country. The military men walking around in the street didn't really bother her, she said, they were mostly concerned about keeping an eye on the villagers, who are not allowed to talk in groups, as they might be planning revolt. This past summer she took courses in Burmese so she can speak directly to the villagers next time she goes back into the country.
She has also been to the Amazon in Ecuador, where oil and mining companies' interests have been subjugating the indigenous people's rights there for many years. "What I learned was the great paradox of our time," she said. "Those I spoke to outside of the United States were pleading that I bring their stories to the American public, to alert the citizens here to what our oil companies & mining companies were doing in their homelands. To tell the American people to use our privileges & rights as the world's 'dominant nation' to support their struggle for their families in Ecuador & Burma, because they had no rights in their own country."
Jensine believes that the American public is largely uninterested in International news because the media usually portrays situations very negatively, leaving readers and viewers depressed and overwhelmed. But with "World Birth", she intends to change that. The magazine will focus on the positive things that are happening the change the world, and give real solutions to problems.
"Readers will feel informed, empowered, and inspired to make a difference. Not only will "World Birth" will delve into the complex issues, but she will also cover forces creating effective solutions that support children's' health and well being worldwide," she said.
If you would like to learn more about "World Birth" magazine, attend an informal gathering designed to introduce World Birth to the public, network with supporters and volunteers, and join in a discussion about World Birth's potential global role.
When: This Sunday, December 8, 2-3:30 pm.
Where: Portland State University, Cascade Room #234, Smith Memorial Center
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