Ending Racism in Chicago NOW: A Critical Race Theory Community Education Workshop

When: Wednesday February 20, 2019 6pm
Location: We Work 20 West Kinzie Chicago, IL 60610

Space is limited please register in advance!

In honor of Black History Month, we here at the Chicago Chapter of the National Organization of Women (CNOW) are actively working to take a stance on racial justice in our city. It is very important that we are able to process difficult conversations as a way to move forward towards equity. We cordially invite you to join us for our second annual racial justice education event as we continue our commitment to embrace intersectionality as it relates to activism in Chicago. This is an evening of stories, diversity education activities, and small group discussions that validate the lived experiences of those most impacted by racism in Chicago. We will be utilizing a critical race theory framework to provide practical tools to combat racism.

For Your Information (FYI): This is a trigger warning that learning about racial injustices may bring about a great deal of anxiety or anger. As participants of this workshop it is understood that we all come to the discussion at various levels as it relates to one’s participation or exposure to racial justice advocacy and educational content. Please be respectful to one another as we all have different experiences and perspectives and here at Chicago NOW our goal is to provide a “safe space” for further reflection and dialogue in a healthy manner. As a result, some of us may be experiencing discomfort and a great deal of cognitive dissonance which is a normal part of the transformational learning process. If this is the case please feel free to follow up with someone from the CNOW leadership team to debrief after your participation in the workshop.

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We look forward to the opportunity for connection and healing that we have for this New Year. In the meantime, here are couple ways you can continue to be an active participant in your personal journey to move towards racial justice.

Keep the conversation going!

Ask questions, share your story, and listen to the stories of others. While doing so be respectful of the time and experiences of people of color.

Read racial justice educational literature suggestions

The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation by Natalie Y. Moore; Unapologetic a Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements by Charlene A. Carruthers; Ain’t I a Woman Black Women & Feminism by Bell Hooks; Post Racial or Most Racial? Race and Politics in The Obama Era by Michael Tesler (Chicago Studies in American Politics published by the University of Chicago Press); Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement by Kimberlee Crenshaw; Who’s Afraid of Critical Race Theory by Derrick A. Bell; and/or Whiteness as Property by Cheryl L. Harris

*CNOW may be hosting a neighborhood book club in a community near you please stay tuned for more information “To Be Announced”

Determine where your local alderman stands on racial equity

Take a look at your city council member’s previous sponsorship history on key racial justice policies by utilizing the tools developed by our friends at “The Center for Racial and Gender Equity” (CRGE) in order to determine if your current alderman is eligible for re-election from a racial equity perspective. Download the Scorecard.

Support Business led by People of Color

Join us in solidarity at Chicago NOW as we celebrate African American history Month by helping to support the work of Sista Afya which is a community based social enterprise that works to support black women’s mental wellness in the Chicago area. More information about the organization can be found here: https://www.sistaafya.com/

Any questions regarding the upcoming racial justice educational event please contact: Krystle Everett at: info@chicagonow.org

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.