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’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.

Meet our 2017 Woman Who Dared Nominee: Tamar Manasseh

Tamar Manasseh

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

VERNITA GRAY COMMUNITY ACTIVIST AWARD

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.

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

Hon. Sara Feigenholtz

Hon. Sara Feigenholtz
State Representative
Illinois’ 12th District

DAWN CLARK NETSCH AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PUBLIC SERVICE

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.

Chicago Pride Parade a Success!

Chicago NOW at Pride 2017
The NOW Chicago and Will County chapters join together at the Pride Parade

Chicago NOW participated in the 48th Annual Chicago Pride parade to the cheers of hordes of parade watchers. As we partnered with the Bisexual Queer Alliance of Chicago and the National Organization for Women, Will County chapter, we marched as allies the to the LGBTQ community and shared in the love of such a special day.

Midway through the parade, a group tried to shut down parade with a 12-point platform including discontent and the inclusion of politicians, corporations, and police allowed in the parade. The protests lasted a few minutes before the parade was allowed to continue.

What are your thoughts on these protests? Reach out to us at info@chicagonow.org and let us know!