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Letter

FROM THE JULIE KOERBER

Editor

IT’S SAFE TO SAY

likely an undercount. The 41 drawings represent these women.”

the Holiday Season 2020 is going to look and feel a little bit different than years past. Not too long ago, I had a moment of weakness and lamented to my daughter about how I just wanted life to be “normal” again. My daughter, without skipping a beat said, “Mom, the black plague lasted seven years.” In other words, woman up. After that point, I tried to find ways to see the beauty of this time. I would start my sentences to my family, “I love this age because..” and then started to list some of the good things in spite of the bad. So, what were my “loves”? I actually have a few. I love this time because, with my family together more, we’re spending quality time talking about things that matter. I laughingly said the other day that I love this time because I’m going through so much soap that I was able to enjoy scents like Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte and Pumpkin Cupcake, knowing I’d go through them before Thanksgiving even hit. They smell divine by the way. But, there was something deeper I loved. I loved seeing friends and business partners grow in ways they wouldn’t have if this pandemic hadn’t struck. My beautiful friend, Karen Grosz, decided to start her own networking group to promote happiness and she is now building an online community of support. It’s hard to keep that woman still. She is always dreaming, always encouraging, always doing. Then, there’s the woman I call my partner in crime. Melanie Fabrizius is one of those wonders who literally breathes life into Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine by designing every square inch of it. She has a graphic design firm on the side and when her client load dwindled a bit because of COVID-19, she decided to turn her attention to a long-lost love — art. She launched a website and devoted time to explore digital art. She created what she calls the Scamper Series, showing some of Montana’s wildlife in bold, graphic displays. It was her second body of work, however, that formed a lump in my throat. It’s called Not Forgotten. On her website, she says, “This series is dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls of Montana. According to the Urban Indian Health Institute’s 2020 report, there are currently 41 known cases of MMIW in Montana. This is

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YVW MAGAZINE

As you scroll through her drawings, each woman depicted has her own distinct personality. The hair, jewelry and clothing is unique. What’s the same in each portrait is the red handprint over each of their mouths, an image that symbolizes how indigenous women’s voices have been silenced. “I was inspired by our March 2020 issue featuring Selena Not Afraid’s story and the MMIW movement,” Melanie says. “The faces of these beautiful women and girls from that story were on my mind daily.” When COVID hit, she says, “I felt like the news coverage about MMIW stopped.” Wanting to push it back into the spotlight, Melanie turned to art. “I simply want to continue to bring awareness to this issue and keep it in people’s minds and hearts.” The result was 41 portraits drawn straight from Melanie’s own heart. The works are colorful and thought provoking. As you flip through this issue, you’ll see stories of women flexing their strengths and sharing their talents in remarkable ways. Our special section on Girl Power has me jumping out of my shoes over these young women who are blazing new trails. The spirit they all embody is one we can learn from — to follow our passions, no matter what our age. So, as you look around this beautiful world that is weathering tough and dark things, I hope you follow these women’s leads and look for the good. See the change. Be the change. Hug those you love. Be grateful and, most of all, have the most blessed holiday possible.

Julie IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE MELANIE’S WORK, click on melaniefab.com

Profile for yellowstonevalleywoman

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...

Yellowstone Valley Woman  

Yellowstone Valley Woman magazine was started in 2001 as a 40-page free publication in Yellowstone County. Over the years, thanks to your re...