Black Hills Woman Magazine | From the Editor

From the Editor
Tracy Bernard

In this issue we talk a great deal about traditional gender roles. It really got me thinking about how cultural norms change over time. Specifically, how change actually occurs. With sexism, racism and religious discrimination more in the headlines now than ever before in my lifetime, it’s a relevant topic. We tend to glorify, and rightfully so, the individuals within a specific oppressed group that rise up to be that group’s spokesperson. Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Mahatma Gandhi are all well-known examples. While individual people are critical to the process of change, change must occur among the masses, especially in the mindset of the groups with the perceived power. In order for slavery to be abolished, white people had to join the voices of slaves and say, ‘This is wrong and must stop.” Likewise, for women to legally vote, men had to stand up and fight for change alongside women. Neither slaves nor women could accomplish the change on their own. Ultimately, the majority of the people in the power position must be convinced that change must occur.

One of the people I spoke with in preparing this issue was Assistant Chief of the Rapid City Police Department, Don Hedrick. During our conversation he said “…you know, people would be surprised at the reaction women officers get. They slip into that big sister tone and these big guys just step right in line.” That’s the kind of thinking I’m referring to. He may have been just speaking casually to me but it is evidence of a higher level of thinking. At some point in time, leaders within a field observe and decide women can do a job well, for example. Or perhaps it is an injustice or inequality that must stop. Change eventually occurs, never as fast as we want, but it does happen.

Yes, we still have things that need to change but I just want to pause and acknowledge all the unsung change makers in the world. So thank you to the people with open minds and open doors, that stand up, speak up and put down unfair practices and dusty status-quo thinking.

A sincere thanks to Assistant Chief Hedrick, Brendyn Medina and Officer Emily Zebracki of the Rapid City Police Department for opening their doors to Black Hills Woman Magazine. It was enlightening, and we find ourselves even more grateful for the protection they provide to our community.

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