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.

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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.

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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.

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Chicago NOW signs on to Letter of Support for Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Chicago NOW joined a coalition of social advocates to urge members of congress to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Modeled after the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) the PWFA , offering employers and employees a familiar reasonable accommodation framework to follow and set reasonable expectations of both employers and employees. We applaud the actions of this coalition and are proud to be a part of it. For more information, click here.

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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!

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Chicago NOW to step out for Illinois Equal Rights Amendment

Representatives from several women’s organizations, including Illinois and Chicago NOW, recently met  to discuss strategy for working toward ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by the Illinois State Legislature.

The Illinois Coalition Partners of ERA Action are planning to work first to garner the necessary support in the Illinois House of Representatives before moving on to the Illinois Senate. We expect to soon have a list of legislators to target to support the amendment. While passage of the ERA is a bipartisan issue, democrats have been generally more supportive of ratification than republicans. Coalition leaders are hoping to build a coalition large enough to move some suburban and/or downstate republicans into the YES column.

Updates will be included in future newsletters and in action alerts from the CNOW Action Team and the CNOW Legislative and Policy Team. Let’s work together to get this done!

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Chicago NOW participates in Dyke March

Chicago NOW marched and tabled at the 2017 Dyke March at Piotrowski Park. March organizers, bands and speakers took to the stage while NOW representatives spoke to scores of participants who stopped at our table.

The day was filled with community and information sharing, but was also dotted with some protests. Located close to the Chicago NOW table, religious protestors harassed march attendees shouting hate speech. Fortunately, organizers and attendees joined together to form a human chain while a drumming band came along to drown out the hateful words. Soon after the protestors left.

Unbeknownst to Chicago NOW, three people were told to leave the march because of a rainbow flag with star of David on it being carried by one of these people. Through multiple press outlets after the event, Chicago NOW discovered the political controversy regarding the pro-Palestian, anti-Zionism of the Dyke March organization platform.

In defense of the action taken the spokesperson for the organizers stated the platform rules and that those who were confronted and asked to leave were members of a group that were pro-Zionism and therefore made others in the March feel unsafe.

We at Chicago NOW state our commitment to religious freedom and all people are allowed freedom of expression within our events. We will not allow anti-Semitism to be an exception.

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Give Your Choice A Voice Part 2???


As members read in the May newsletter, Give Your Choice A Voice was a great success! We had so many individuals who wanted to share their story but were unable to because of time constraints. Well good news, members! Chicago NOW has decided to host a second Give Your Choice A Voice this year in August! Coming soon to a Chicago neighborhood near you, we will have more speakers, comedians and musical acts all sharing their stories and celebrating choice. Stay tuned to the newsletter, facebook and twitter for information as the event develops!

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Chicago NOW Board Members to Attend Annual Conference

This year, the National Organization for Women will hold its annual conference at the Florida Hotel in Orlando, Flordia from June 30 – July 2. This year’s theme of “Forward Feminism Not Backing Down Rising Together” will bring attendees inspiring plenary speakers, thought-provoking workshops, and opportunities to engage with feminist organizers from around the country.

This year NOW will elect new leadership as President Terry O’Neill and Vice President Bonnie Grabenhofer have fulfilled their terms. The election is a contested one with two slates of candidates. Team Rise Up Now presents China Fortson-Washington as a candidate for president and Monica Weeks for vice-president.  NOWStrong is presenting Toni van Pelt as candidate for president Gilda Yazzie for vice-president. Go to NOW’s website to register and find out more.

Chicago NOW and Illinois NOW will be represented at the meeting and will participate in the election. If you are going to be at the conference let us know by contacting us at info@chicagonow.org.

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Chicago NOW to March in Pride Parade!


On June 25, Chicago NOW will show it’s pride and celebrate equality by marching in the 48th annual Chicago Pride Parade! This year we are partnering with the Bisexual Queer Alliance Chicago. Together we will show our pride for the LGBTQ community and stand in solidarity to celebrate equality for all. If you are interested in marching with us, please make sure to register here.

The march will start at Montrose and Broadway and stretches for 2.5 miles. This celebratory event is held in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots and demonstrates the true diversity of the community and the city at large. We hope you will celebrate with us!

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