I have a life-long habit of getting involved in a long list of projects, most of which bring together pieces of my professional and my personal experiences. Most of the projects featured here are still active in one way or another. Below, from most recent to “eldest”, is a brief “personal history” of how each emerged and has evolved over time, as well as links to detail related to each. The links to the projects in the menu on the right point to the site for the project or the page that gives more detail.
Peace & Power as a concept, as a book and as a practice first emerged in my life in the early 1980’s when I was a member of the Emma Collective – a group of women who operated the Buffalo Women’s Bookstore. The process we used was referred to as “rotating chair” but Charlene Eldridge and I realized it was so much more than this one component of the process. So we decided to write about the process and first published this summary in 1984. Since then the book has influenced groups world-wide seeking to shift their interactions to cooperative and constructive ways. Recently I established a web site that includes a brief description of the basic elements of the process, and that includes a blog and commentary from readers. I hope you will visit the site, and leave your ideas and responses as well!
This project is both the newest, and one of the “oldest”! The idea first originated in the early 1980’s when Charlene Eldridge and I lived in Buffalo, New York. Liz Kennedy and Madeline Davis were conducting their oral history project of women in the Buffalo community, which resulted in the wonderful book: Boots of Leather and Slippers of Gold. Charlene and I met with Liz and Madeline to discuss our idea of doing a similar project in the nursing community, but for a number of reasons were not able to get this idea underway. Over the years I discussed the idea with a number of colleagues, all of whom were equally inspired to get this underway. Finally, in 2012 a group of us began to bring this vision to reality! You can read the rest of the story on the project web site!
In 2008, Mickey Eliason, Sue Dibble, Jeanne DeJoseph and I prepared the book LGBTQ Cultures: What Health Care Professionals Need to Know About Sexual and Gender Diversity. At the time this book was first published, LGBTQ health issues were barely mentioned in nursing education, and there was very little LGBTQ research conducted or published. So we extended our project to the LavenderHealth.org web site in 2009 as a way to bring together resources for all who are interested in LGBTQ health – consumers, educators, health care professionals. The web site is packed with information and resources, particularly in the area of education.
This project began in 1998, when Richard Cowling and Sue Hagedorn and I had a conversation about the “nursing shortage” and the despair that we knew prevailed for many nurses who wanted to practice nursing as they knew and loved it, but could not find a place to do so. Our concern prompted us to write the “Nursing Manifesto”, which remains on the web as a valuable resource to inspire nurses who seek to enact the most basic nursing values.
Although this project only existed as an active project from 1982 to 1989, the imagery that Cassandra created in nursing has persisted ever since. For a long while, the image that prevailed in mainstream nursing was that we represented the “radical fringe,” but gradually feminist ideas began to be recognized as valuable and pertinent to nurses and nursing. And many women who contributed to our news journals launched productive careers that nurtured ongoing feminist sensibilities in nursing. The newsjournals that we produced through the 1980s are preserved here on the Cassandra page
In 2008 Paula Kagan, a nurse faculty member at DePaul University, began work on a documentary film of Cassandra’s history. Cassandra has never “died” … the image and the concepts have been sustained in many different forms over the years. The legacy that the women of Cassandra established – a feminist voice in nursing lives on!
In 1983, Charlene Eldridge (Wheeler) and I founded an independent feminist publishing company we named for our mothers, who were both named “Margaret.” We published three books and three calendars! I am working on getting the two books re-published electronically; the calendars we produced are available here on the Margaretdaughters page.