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.

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.