Meet our 2018 Woman Who Dared: Kim Foxx

Cook County State’s AttorneyKimberly M. Foxx
Cook County State’s Attorney

DAWN CLARK NETSCH AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE

Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country. Kim took office on December 1, 2016 with a vision for transforming the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office into a fairer, more forward-thinking agency focused on rebuilding the public trust, promoting transparency, and being proactive in making all communities safe.

In her first year in office, Kim has already undertaken substantial reform. She has revamped the office’s Conviction Integrity Unit, resulting in overturned convictions in over 20 cases, including the first-ever mass exoneration in Cook County for 15 men whose convictions stemmed from misconduct by a Chicago Police Officer. She has been a leader in bond reform, instructing prosecutors to agree to recognizance bonds where appropriate, and reviewing bond decisions in cases where people are detained because they are unable to pay bonds of $1,000 or less. Kim has taken the lead on prioritizing resources away from low-level offenses, including raising the threshold for approving felony charges for retail theft to $1,000, and declining to prosecute misdemeanor traffic offenses for failure to pay tickets and fines.

Kim served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for 12 years, and was also a guardian ad litem, where she worked as an attorney advocating for children navigating the child welfare system. Prior to being elected State’s Attorney, Kim served as Chief of Staff for the Cook County Board President, where she was the lead architect of the county’s criminal justice reform agenda to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Born and raised on Chicago’s Near North Side, Kim is a graduate of Southern Illinois University, where she earned a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from the SIU School of Law.

Register now to honor Kim Foxx at our Annual Women Who Dared cocktail reception and fundraiser on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 6 PM.

CNOW Speaks Out Against Sexual Abuse in CPS

There has recently been increased national attention on keeping our students safe while they are at school. This debate typically revolves around the school shooting epidemic, but Chicago Public Schools have another epidemic that has yet to be dealt with appropriately.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported an extensive analysis concluding that over the last decade, police have investigated 523 reports of children being sexually assaulted inside CPS. In many of these reported cases, CPS failed to alert child welfare investigators or police, despite being mandated reporters. In some cases, inadequate background checks led to employment of educators who had been arrested or convicted of sex crimes against minors. Coaches, security guards, teachers, and fellow students have been sexually assaulting children with little to no accountability.

We know that if there are 523 reported cases of sexual misconduct, there are hundreds of instances that have gone unreported due to students’ understandable fear of retaliation, or the proven lack of consequence for perpetrators.

Chicago NOW takes a strong stand against sexual harassment and sexual assault, especially when it affects our youngest generation. The damage that CPS has caused these students is insurmountable and needs to be rectified immediately. CPS must be held accountable to protect its student body. Chicago NOW asks CPS to publicly indicate how they plan to protect their students moving forward.

http://graphics.chicagotribune.com/chicago-public-schools-sexual-abuse/#gaddy

2018 Women Who Dared Nominations Are Open!

The Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women is seeking nominations for Women Who Dared, our annual award ceremony recognizing the vital work of women making a difference in Chicago. Each fall, CNOW honors one elected official and one community leader working to serve and uplift women and girls in our city and beyond.

Recent past honorees on the elected official side include Representative Sara Feigenholtz, Congresswoman Robin Kelly, City Clerk Susana Mendoza, and Judge Gloria Chevere. Community leader honorees have included Tamar Manasseh of Mothers/Men Against Senseless Killings, Charlene Carruthers of BYP100, and Scheherazade Tillet of A Long Walk Home. At the Women Who Dared event later this year, you will hear from these amazing women and be part of the conversation about CNOW’s future.

Now, we want to hear from you! Click here to nominate a Chicago woman who has made a difference in the past year. We can’t wait to hear about all the amazing Women Who Dared in Chicago!

Chicago NOW Partners with the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition to Stem the Tide of Violence Against Women

Gun violence is a feminist concern.  It is five times more likely that a domestic violence situation will turn deadly if a gun is present. On average, 50 American women are murdered monthly by intimate partners through gun violence. American women are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun than women in other high-income countries.

Federal law prohibits gun sales to persons with domestic abuse convictions.  But that does not stop these persons from trying to obtain guns.  One in seven unlawful gun buyers stopped by a federal background check has been convicted of domestic violence. Because abusers can avoid federally mandated background checks by buying guns from unlicensed sellers, these sales pose a significant danger to women.

The Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition has been working tirelessly to close this loop-hole.  Just before the primary, the Illinois Legislature passed the Gun Dealer Licensing Act (SB1657). Governor Rauner vetoed it.  It’s now up to your state legislators to override the veto.

Will you call your legislator today?

Will you help work to pass the Gun Dealer Licensing Act and other important safety measures in Illinois?

Over the next few months, we will be presenting and promoting ways that you can get involved to help pass common-sense gun reform in Illinois.

Join us.

We have an action item for all CNOW supporters this week:

We need you to contact your State Senator and ask them to VOTE YES to override Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 1657.

Please go to this website to be connected to your IL State Senator. Please email them first and then call them for extra points.

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.