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A More Perfect Union

We’ve seen this idea before. We just didn’t know it would take this long for it to come back. In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized a convention for the rights of women in Seneca Falls, New York. Using the Declaration of Independence as a model, the participants wrote a Declaration of Sentiments [...]
Laura Dachenbach

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We’ve seen this idea before. We just didn’t know it would take this long for it to come back.

In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized a convention for the rights of women in Seneca Falls, New York. Using the Declaration of Independence as a model, the participants wrote a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, outlining the case for women’s suffrage and participation in government. The convention concluded with the goal of securing equality for women through their enfranchisement. The Women’s Suffrage movement had began.

Now 170 years later, a group of Central Ohio women intend to make good on Stanton and Mott’s vision: those whose lives are affected by legislature and policy should have equal opportunities to craft that legislation. Despite the state being 51 percent female, women currently make up 22 percent of the Ohio General Assembly and only 14 percent of Ohio’s county commissioners.

“There’s a political stalemate that’s seizing our country and it’s defined by partisan rancor,” said Cox. “So we thought if the party system is not working well for us…what can we do to change that?”

“We’re the primary caregivers of our families and the chief consumers in our state. We feel like political representation—gender balance in politics—is sort of the final frontier for women’s leadership,” said Sally Crane Cox. Cox, along with five other women, attended the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017. Gripped by the enthusiasm of the movement and the belief that better government is a one of proportional gender representation, the six women felt energized to be the change they wanted to see.

Ten days after the march, Cox hosted the group for dinner and discussion. Recognizing that money is a huge factor in political influence, the group decided to start a nonpartisan state political action committee with the mission of electing women to Ohio state and local offices who promote an economy in which women will prosper. Adopting the symbol of the powerful queen bee, the new PAC decided to call themselves the “Matriots.”

The Matriots kicked off a fundraising campaign on July 4 of last year, aiming to raise $400,000. Men, women, Republicans, Democrats, Independents—Cox was thrilled with the people stepping to the plate, many at the $2,000 “founding member level.”

“We obviously weren’t the only ones feeling that there was a need for an alternative to the present situation,” she said.

By the end-of-the-year deadline, the Matriots had surpassed their original goal—nearly doubling it, in fact, by an additional $350,000. Within a year, Crane, now serving as treasurer, and the Matriots were heading up the second-largest PAC in the state of Ohio. With their finances in shape, The Matriots hired an Executive director, started a committee to endorse candidates, and began their overall agenda to reshape the gender landscape of politics in Ohio.

“Our endorsed candidates are so passionate about the issues affecting their communities and have amazing inspiring stories of their own. We seek to tell those stories,” said Elissa Schneider, Executive Director for the Matriots. “We hold events such as Matriots Mondays to connect our candidates to our members and others interested in our work.”

Historically, women have not been a unified political force. (I learned this by flipping through the pages of my great-grandmother’s college yearbook which had pages devoted to both the Suffragette and Anti-Suffragette clubs.) With even greater political divisions today, how would the Matriots rally women around the flagpole, so to speak?

“There’s a political stalemate that’s seizing our country and it’s defined by partisan rancor,” said Cox. “So we thought if the party system is not working well for us…what can we do to change that?

Shedding political labels was the first step. The Matriots is a values-based organization centered on women’s economic prosperity and human and civil rights. With an emphasis on values, the PAC hopes to break through partisan politics and bridge divides.

“We currently have members in 25 Ohio counties and through our 88 Woman campaign, we seek to expand this reach and have at least one member in each of Ohio’s 88 counties,” says Schneider. “Our mission is resonating in both urban and rural areas.”

How does the Matriots’ “big tent” approach affect controversial issues, such as reproductive rights? The Matriots do not endorse candidates who are verbally or actively opposed to reproductive choice. Yet choice can mean many things. Women may find that they agree in upholding choice as the law of the land, or that they would never agree to a woman’s rights being taken away.

“We want to say [to women candidates], ‘Ok. You run. We’ll take care of the details,’ and give them the support they need,” said Cox.

“Somehow we’re trying to find a place and a space where we can have a conversation civilly and move forward,” said Cox.

Candidates who wish to be endorsed by the Matriots must apply for endorsement and demonstrate how they espouse the PAC’s values. In the upcoming November election, 34 candidates are Matriots-endorsed—mothers, grandmothers, new candidates, incumbents—representing various political affiliations and all sharing the belief that when women are represented fairly in government, the civic conversation changes and everyone benefits.

“Research has shown that women tend to govern a little differently than men in the sense that [women] are often more collaborative and will work across the aisle on issues that they care the most about, and that women care most about issues that directly impact families,” said Cox. “And that covers so much—healthcare, education, and paid leave that not only contribute to the well-being of women, but to our families and communities.”

For Cox, electing women to office is also about normalizing women running for office. Women have a more difficult time deciding to run for office, questioning their qualifications, deciding whether they can make the time commitment, or securing childcare during campaign time. Women who don’t win a first election tend to drop out of politics more often than men.

“We want to say [to women candidates], ‘Ok. You run. We’ll take care of the details,’ and give them the support they need,” said Cox.

What is the eventual goal? An Ohio in 2028 where at least 50 percent of elected offices are held by women.

“We envision a future where women have equality, influence and power,” said Schneider.

“Women candidates deserve more financial support. Politically, the more we engage, the more we achieve.”

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Arts & Culture

Thinking Big: The Amazing Giants bring circus arts to events across town

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If you have been to a local festival, parade, or corporate event where you’ve seen stilt walkers, fire-eaters, hula-hoopers or lyra artists, there’s a good chance you’ve been in the presence of an Amazing Giant. Founded in 2011 by Jessica Minshall, The Amazing Giants was born out of one woman’s love of stilt walking and her friends’ desire to learn the skill. Now a new challenge is looming for the group—a business expansion to Hawaii.

Working in the service industry, Minshall saw a need in Columbus for a different type of entertainment. She taught herself how to walk on stilts for a festival gig out of state. This new hobby intrigued a group of her friends, and they decided to learn, too. From there, The Amazing Giants were born. “My partner and I bought a lot of stilts and just taught people how to do it,” she said. “We all found each other.”

What began as a few friends learning a new skill and having fun together practicing it evolved into a booming business with 40 employees and contract workers, including magicians, face painters and more. They are hired for events to do everything from wearing full bodysuits covered in tiny mirrors and dancing to wearing and serving champagne from large metal skirts to dazzle a crowd.

“We have evolved with different equipment, too,” Minshall said. The Amazing Giants owns the only sway pole in the Midwest. It allows performers to create a large- scale spectacle with an extreme cirque-style pole acrobatic act without the need for a permanent installation. With hundreds of costumes, 20 pairs of stilts, and entertainment offerings of just about every circus art imaginable, The Amazing Giants truly seek to astound.

Having had great success in the Columbus market, Minshall decided to grow her business, and recently brought The Amazing Giants to Honolulu. “I had family out here that I would visit and realized they don’t have anyone doing what we do. There’s not really a group or team of stilt walkers working together,” she said. So Minshall bought six pairs of stilts, and hosts open gyms where interested performers can show off their skills and possibly train on stilts. “They don’t need to send me a resume, necessarily,” she said. “It’s about personality and talent.”

Importantly, Amazing Giants must have an abundance of confidence without an overabundance of ego. “I tell people we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As an entertainer you have to get over your shyness and put yourself out there.” The ability to work as a collaborative team player is also key, she said. “Our team often works in tight quarters, and whether or not it is well-received, you have to put on the show as best you can.”

Although Minshall is keeping the headquarters in Columbus, now headed by Chief of Operations Olivia Ranier, she says she is excited about the expansion and her recent move to Honolulu. “It reminds me a lot of Columbus because it has that small-town, big-city feel with a similar {\(metropolitan area) population of around one million people,” Minshall said. And the environment is ripe for her type of business. “In Honolulu, we have events year-round; in Columbus our business slows down after New Year’s Eve,” she said. “There is also a lot more tourism and a convention center that brings in a ton of people.”

Although her business has expanded, don’t for a second go thinking that Minshall is going to forget where she comes from. “A lot of times people ask me where I am from and they say, ‘Wow, I’ve been hearing a lot about Ohio lately.’ I have nothing but good things to say about Columbus and what kind of platform it’s given me. It’s a massive city with a thriving arts and entertainment culture—and it’s extremely underrated. I will be Columbus-promoting forever.”

For more information visit theamazinggiants.com.

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Sports

Big Macs and Bowl Games: Enter McDonalds sweepstakes for college football getaway

614now Staff

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Now that Ohio State has secured its bid to play in the 2019 College Football Playoffs, every fan across Columbus is vying for tickets to the Bowl Game. Lucky for you, McDonald’s has the answer.

Today, McDonald’s launches their Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes in partnership with Ohio State Athletics, where one lucky winner will win a trip for two to the 2019 Fiesta Bowl Game on Saturday, Dec. 28, including prime tickets to the game, transportation to and from, plus hotel and travel accommodations.

Fans can enter the Buckeye Bowl Game Sweepstakes by purchasing a Quarter Pounder or Quarter Pounder with cheese from any McDonald’s in the greater Columbus area, either in restaurants or through their favorite delivery service. With each order, customers will receive a golden ticket with entry details, leading them to the sweepstakes website.

And the best part is for every submission placed, McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Columbus will donate $1 to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, helping them meet their annual fundraising goal.

“For McDonald’s, and for those of us as local business owners, it’s about more than selling burgers. It’s about creating a lasting impact in our community,” said Mike Telich, Columbus McDonald’s Owner/Operator in a statement. “Supporting RMHC is more than just a donation, its ensuring families with ill or injured children get the emotional and physical support they need, as well an alternative to the financial burden of staying at a hotel and going out for meals."

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Community

Oh Snap! Local photo studio helping bring Columbus’ imagination to life

614now Staff

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SPONSORED

We can only count on our memories to preserve moments so much, and word of mouth can only get us so far. Sometimes, a message needs to be captured with a shutter and presented with an image.

At Zurïe Studio you can bring your imagination to life and preserve special moments in one beautiful place at a reasonable price. The space features a sun-soaked studio and clean aesthetic, allowing the subjects of your photos to command the screen without distraction.

The studio also offers paper backdrops, stools, and minimal props to amplify your project, mini session, or photo shoot. All outside props are welcome, too, with a loading dock to make setup a breeze.

Speaking of mini, (614) Kids Club has teamed up with Zurïe to offer a FREE Family Holiday Mini Photography Session! Join us December 7th from 10am-Noon at Zurïe to have your picture snapped by LA + Co Photography.

This event is open to the public (as long as you get your ticket in advance), but (614) Kids Club members will receive:

  • (614) Kids Club Members get to skip the line
  • Two digital prints of their minis – for FREE

Click here to learn more and reserve your spot!

Whether it's head shots for the office, new products you want to promote, a creative vision that keeps you up at night, or just trying to get one nice picture of your family acting like the love one another, Zurïe is passionate about the people of Columbus, and will work with you to create something beautiful and memorable.

Zurïe Studio is conveniently located at 3477 N High St. in Clintonville, directly behind the new Katalina’s. They are open 8am- 5pm every day by appointment. To learn more and book your rental, visit zurie.co.

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