Chicago NOW’s Racial Justice Training

On Wednesday, January 24, we at the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization of Women (CNOW) collaborated with YWCA’s Racial Justice Director, Eileen Hogan Heineken, to embark on a journey toward a greater understanding of the way our cultures shape who we are, our institutions, how we see others, and ways to become inclusive.  For an hour and a half, 30 CNOW training participants took a deep dive into the way our implicit biases affect our viewpoints.  Eileen facilitated an excellent discussion that began with participants partnering with each other to talk about their cultural upbringing.  This exercise elucidated a common theme that resonated across cultures which include how many of us came to a greater understanding of our cultural heritage only when we left our homogeneous childhood environments and felt the difference between how we perceived ourselves and how we are treated by society at large.

We discussed how our origins shape the way we see the world as adults and examined the idea of a monolithic view of the “norm”.  I particularly enjoyed our discussion of the formation of implicit biases and how we can work to overcome them to be inclusive of others who are different from ourselves.  Many of us recounted experiences they had where they were treated differently or discriminated against based upon the idea of what someone of their skin color, race, or gender is expected to look and act like.  After venting our collective frustration at the way racial and gender stereotypes are embedded in American culture and keep those who aren’t white, male, or otherwise what cultural messaging often describes as “the norm,” several participants admitted that they struggle to this day with internal negative reactions to those from other groups based on these biases.  Eileen encouraged us to face these struggles head on, and consciously work toward eradicating our internal biases and to advocate for institutional policies and practices that promote inclusion as tools for greater systematic change. Furthermore, we have a responsibility not only to confront bias in ourselves, but to call out others who act based on bias.  If someone makes a bad joke based on a racial stereotype – we tell them they are not funny.  If someone acts in a discriminatory fashion, we stand up for the person they are discriminating against.  Overall,  this session was a terrific way to brainstorm concrete steps we can take, as an organization and as individual activists, to make sure that we challenge injustice when we see it and to be inclusive of all when working toward our goals here at CNOW and across Chicago.

2018 First Round CNOW PAC Endorsements

Cook County Wide Candidates

  • Board President: Toni Preckwinkle
  • Treasurer: Peter Gariepy

Cook County Commissioners:

  • 1st District: Brandon Johnson
  • 2nd District: Dennis Deer
  • 3rd District: Charise Williams
  • 4th District: Gaylon Alcaraz
  • 6th District: Donna Miller
  • 10th District: Bridget Gainer
  • 12th District: John Fritchey
  • 13th District: Larry Suffredin
  • 15th District: Kevin B. Morrison

Board of Review, 2nd District: Michael Cabonargi

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District:

  • 6-year term: Debra Shore & Kari Steele
  • 2-year term: Kim DuBuclet

Judicial Candidates, Countywide

  • Brewer Vacancy: Judge Oran F. Whiting
  • Clay Vacancy: Jonathan Clark Green
  • Rooney Vacancy: Jack Hagerty
  • McGinnis Vacancy: Peter Michael Gonzalez
  • Dunford Vacancy: Tom McGuire
  • Dooling Vacancy: Tom Sianis

Judicial Candidates, Subcircuits:

  • 2nd, Laws Vacancy: Judge Adrienne Davis
  • 2nd, Turner, Jr. Vacancy: Judge Travis Richardson
  • 2nd, Willis Vacancy: Judge Debra Seaton
  • 4th, Davy Vacancy: Caroline Jamieson Golden
  • 4th, Riley Vacancy: Martin Reggi
  • 6th, Chevere Vacancy: Judge Kent Delgado
  • 6th, Cooke Vacancy: Ed Underhill
  • 6th, Lopez Cepero Vacancy: Judge Stephanie Miller
  • 8th, Fabri Vacancy: Judge Robin Shoffner
  • 8th, Liu Vacancy: Judge Michael A. Forti
  • 8th, Pethers Vacancy: Judge Myron “Mike” Mackoff
  • 10th, O’Neill Burke Vacancy: Judge Stephanie Saltouros
  • 10th, Suriano Vacancy: Colleen Reardon Daly
  • 11th, Kennedy Vacancy: Judge Joanne Rosado

Only candidates who submit a questionnaire are considered for endorsement.
Paid for by Chicago NOW PAC

ILLINOIS ACTION ALERT: The No Salary History act is back!

The No Salary History act that Governor Rauner vetoed is back in the play! According to the Illinois General Assembly page, HB4163 would prohibit an employer from: “(i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary.”

View More Info

Without legal protections to keep earnings information confidential, wage gaps are perpetuated. For ever $21 a white man makes, Asian women make $18, white women make $17, black women make $13, and Hispanic women make $12.

Let your state senator and representative know what you think! It only takes a minute to support HB4163 by filling out this witness slip.

You can also find your representative’s contact info here.

CNOW Statement on Bannon at University of Chicago

As an engaged community organization dedicated to racial justice, LGBTQ equality, and women’s rights, we at the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women would urge the University of Chicago leadership to take a critical look at the message Steve Bannon’s invitation sends to the university and surrounding community. Steve Bannon peddles in racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic, and islamophobic ideology that further marginalizes already underrepresented individuals.

Steve Bannon is one of the most prominent figures in the alt-right movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the alt-right is a set of “far-right ideologies” for which at its core is the idea that “‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization.” This ideology embraces “white ethno-nationalism” as a fundamental value. At the heart of the alt-right movement is the idea of white superiority and that white people must have their own state to preserve their culture. Such an ideology is completely inconsistent with the value of fostering a diverse and dynamic campus culture.

We understand the University’s commitment to challenging beliefs and sharing opposition views in order to foster an intellectual discussion. However, we must recognize that there is a difference between opposing views and the normalization of hate speech. When an individual who has scapegoated Muslims, derided the value of women, attacked the LGBTQ community, and pushed for white identity politics is invited to speak, it sends a strong message contrary to the message of inclusion and critical dialogue espoused by the University.

I, personally, as the President of Chicago NOW and an alumna of the college, was very dismayed to hear that invitation was extended on the campus I was privileged to call my home for four amazing years. As a Latina and an ally to marginalized communities, I feel it is necessary to urge my alma mater to hold tight to the values of openness and acceptance that it instilled in me.

In Solidarity,

Paloma Delgadillo
President of the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women
Bachelors of Arts 2015, University of Chicago

Today is the 45th Anniversary of Roe v Wade

Today marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the historical Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Roe v Wade was supposed to signify an end to women’s fight to decide how, when, and with whom to have a family. Instead, in an industrialized county with one of the highest maternal mortality rates, women continue to face constant attacks on their ability to access safe abortions.

Chicago NOW recognizes a woman’s right to choose as one of the core tenants of feminism, while also appreciating the intersectional impacts on women’s reproductive health. We will not stop fighting until all women have access to safe, legal abortion.

Photo: 1/16/2018, CNOW President Paloma Delgadillo speaks at a press conference advocating against tax payer dollars being used to fund a Catholic healthcare system that denies abortion and other basic reproductive services to women. Credit Men4Choice

TIF Funding for Presence Health Passes

Yesterday the Chicago City Council voted 31-18 in favor of granting $5.5 million in TIF funding to Presence Health, a Catholic healthcare system that denies abortion, birth control, and other basic reproductive care to women.

Chicago NOW continues to strongly oppose this measure.

Presence Health, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the aldermen that voted in favor of this measure would like us to think they are doing a service to underserved communities by using our tax dollars to build new clinics in Avondale, Belmont-Cragin, Calumet Heights, and West Town. They would like us to think that Chicago NOW is prioritizing abortion over race, as these clinics would primarily serve people of color. What they have lost sight of, however, is that it is disenfranchised women, in particular women of color, who stand to lose the most by a lack of access to adequate reproductive care.

Chicago NOW emphatically supports access to effective, quality healthcare for all people of Chicago and recognizes the critical role that race plays in health outcomes. That said, we do not consider a healthcare system that routinely denies basic services to be the quality healthcare that Chicagoans deserve.

Those that voted in favor of this measure would also like us to think that it is adequate for Presence providers to refer patients out to facilities that can perform abortions. Chicago NOW has higher standards. As Paloma Delgadillo, President of CNOW states, “without convenient access to birth control, and yes, safe and legal abortion, women are left unable to control their fertility and their futures.”

It is worth noting that this vote was one of the closest in Mayor Emanuel’s tenure thus far. Do not lose sight of the fact that our voices have been heard on this issue, and must continue to be heard. Chicago NOW encourages its members to call their aldermen and demand to know how they voted today. If they voted in favor of this measure, demand that they justify why they voted to deny women access to quality reproductive healthcare.

Thank you for all your hard work, and thank you to the 18 aldermen who voted No.

City Finance Committee to vote today on TIF financing of Presence Health

Due to Presence Health’s restrictions on birth control and reproductive healthcare, the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women continues to oppose granting the proposed $5.5 million TIF subsidy funded by city of Chicago taxpayer money. Subsidies for healthcare must affirm and protect all people’s right to bodily autonomy and as such should only be granted to healthcare providers that offer comprehensive reproductive services.

This proposal shows the incredible reach Presence Health already has in neighborhoods across the City of Chicago. As the largest nonprofit healthcare system in Illinois, Presence Health is responsible for the care of thousands of Chicagoans. As care providers like Presence, who do not provide contraceptives or other key health procedures, take up more and more space in our healthcare system, options for people seeking what is a natural and sometimes necessary part of their healthcare become fewer and fewer.

“If Presence receives more funding, access to women’s health services will decrease even more,” writes former Chicago NOW board member Christina Tanner. “I was director of midwifery and women’s health services for a federally qualified health center (FQHC) that had a partnership with a Catholic hospital in Evanston. We had to put up a separate clinic down the street to provide birth control.”

Chicago NOW respects the right of any person to choose Presence Health’s preferred method of Natural Family Planning, but we believe that healthcare providers should not present this as the sole available option. Especially in our current political climate in which access to basic health care is continuously being threatened, we believe our tax dollars should be invested in providing quality health care for all Chicagoans, and to providers that make all contraceptive and reproductive care options accessible and affordable for anyone who needs them.

We hope the City Council Finance Committee will consider the need for women—and all people—to have affordable, accessible and informed reproductive care access in making their decision whether or not to invest taxpayer dollars in Presence Health.

Meet our 2017 Woman Who Dared Nominee: Tamar Manasseh

Tamar Manasseh

Tamar Manasseh
Founder & President
MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings)


Following the shooting death of Lucille Barnes in 2015, Tamar Manasseh, a mother of 2 who grew up in Englewood and now lives in Bronzeville, rallied several other mothers and established MASK (Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings). In the summer of 2015, Manasseh and other parents in the community took to their local corner daily to let everyone know that they’re watching.

MASK’s purpose is to put eyes on the streets, interrupt violence and crime, and teach children to grow up as friends rather than enemies. MASK’s primary mission is to build stronger communities through a focus on violence prevention, food insecurity, and housing.

Additionally, MASK partners to ensure that community members have access to necessary city services, opportunities for education & professional skills growth, and economic development.

Manasseh has also helped launch MASK initiatives in other Chicago neighborhoods, as well as cities throughout the nation, including Evansville, Indiana, Staten Island, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee.

To learn more about MASK and it’s mission, please click here.

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

No Comments

Meet our 2017 Woman Who Dared Nominee: Hon. Sara Feigenholtz

Hon. Sara Feigenholtz

Hon. Sara Feigenholtz
State Representative
Illinois’ 12th District


Sara Feigenholtz represents Illinois’ 12th District, which includes Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Near North neighborhoods. Her commitment to the residents of her district and sponsorship of groundbreaking legislation has earned her the appointment of Assistant Majority Leader of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Sara champions a multitude of complex legislative and budgetary issues, reinforcing her statewide reputation as an effective legislator and champion of accessible health care, human services, and adoption reform. Sara’s passion for justice in health care earned her the Chairmanship of Human Services and Appropriations where she served for a decade before her appointment as Assistant Majority Leader.

As a champion of women’s rights, Sara recognizes a woman’s right to choose as a fundamental right. She is leading the way in Springfield to expand access to critical women’s health services. This legislative session, she was the sponsor of House Bill 40. This bill strikes the dangerous “trigger” provision in the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975, which states that if Roe v. Wade is overturned then abortion would become illegal in Illinois. The bill also removes discriminatory provisions from Illinois law that denies insurance coverage of an abortion to many women who depend on Medicaid and State Employee Health Insurance. If signed into law, Illinois would join 15 other states that provide women with health assistance funds that cover the full range of pregnancy related care including a woman’s decision to end a pregnancy.

Prior to entering public service, Sara was the principal of SKF Consulting, a firm that raised over one million dollars for diverse political candidates and non-profit charitable organizations. As a local small business owner, she has also served as the Executive Director of the Central Lakeview Merchants Association. She actively serves in an advisory capacity in numerous community organizations throughout the 12th District.

Sara earned her BA in Political Science and Speech and Performing Arts from Northeastern Illinois University. She participated in the Fellowship program of the Illinois Public Health Leadership Institute and in 2011 completed the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives program.

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

No Comments

National NOW Elects New Leadership

New NOW Leadership
Members of Illinois NOW stand with the new administration

At the NOW Annual Conference in Orlando, state chapters voted and a new President and Vice-president were elected. Toni van Pelt and her VP candidate, Gilda Yazzie will take over the leadership of NOW on August 1 of this year. In addition, a host of resolutions were approved by the body allowing NOW to support various causes. Chicago NOW thanks outgoing President Terry O’Neill and Vice-President Bonnie Grabenhofer for their years of leadership and activism.

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

No Comments