Tuesday Blast: Make A difference This week

Chicago Foundation for Women's Weekly eUpdate

The week of May 22-28, 2007
View this update ONLINE

Our yearlong anti-violence initiative
"What Will It Take?"is paid for in part by a grant from the State of Illinois.

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Hosted by the Asian American Leadership Council and Asian Human Services
5:30-8 p.m.
Tomorrow, May 23
Truman College’s Novar Hall, Room 3426
1145 W. Wilson Ave., Chicago

When you buy your ticket to see Grammy-award winner Jill Scott on June 7—you will also be able to enjoy: Indo-Afro-Caribbean band Funkadesi and self-described “radical feminist queer Jew stand-up comic” Jessica Halem. If it sounds like a great time, it will be. Get your VIP and preferred seats online now.

CALL YOUR STATE REP. The First Offender Probation Bill is in the Illinois House of Representatives and a vote should happen this week or early next. The bill would give first-time prostitution offenders alternative sentencing options. It means women would not get jail time and would be steered away from felony convictions. Instead, they would get needed services such as housing assistance or substance abuse counseling. Contact your state representative and ask him or her to support SB 75.

ASIAN AMERICAN WOMEN AND GIRLS: What will it take to prevent violence in this community? Come to tomorrow’s Town Hall, cosponsored by Asian Human Services, at Truman College starting at 5:30 p.m.

CELEBRATE THREE PHENOMENAL WOMEN. Come to the Impact Awards on June 13 as we recognize Dr. Ruth Westheimer (You know, Dr. Ruth from her radio program, "Sexually Speaking"), Illinois State Senator Carol Ronen and Silvia Rivera, general manager of Radio Arte. Buy tickets online or call (312) 577-2801.

CALLING ALL MEN. Take action and stand with us. More info...
Hannah Rosenthal will be honored today in a ceremony at New York’s Tavern on the Green by Women’s eNews as one of this year’s 21 Leaders for the 21st  Century. Rosenthal, the only one from the Chicago area this year, joins an elite, diverse, international and multigenerational group.  “We singled Hannah out because of the Foundation’s extraordinary violence prevention initiative. It is just one example of how she is helping change the face of women’s philanthropy,” said Rita Henley Jensen, editor in chief of the international news service.

Jennifer L. Berdahl at the University of Toronto published “The Sexual Harassment of Uppity Women,” a study that found women who defy gender roles at work are harassed more often than feminine women. So-called sexual harassment is more like “gender harassment…motivated by hostility toward individuals who violate gender ideals rather than by desire for those who meet them,” Berdahl wrote.

Homophobia hits home
Michelle Wang said she told the homeless shelter worker on the phone that she was tired and cold after moving out of the apartment she shared with her girlfriend. The worker did not understand, so Wang finally said she was a lesbian. She was put on hold and then told there were no rooms at New Life Interim Housing in Rogers Park. The ACLU says that was not the case. Wang plans to file a lawsuit with the ACLU's help charging discrimination based on sexual orientation. The shelter denies the charges. One of the best ways to end discrimination is to speak up. But it is not easy. Applause to Michelle and the ACLU. Read the Tribune story.

Breaking news about the news
Twelve million people watch the Sunday morning talk shows and whom do they see? White men—who outnumber women four to one and people of color seven to one, according to Media Matters for America’s recently released report, “Sunday Shutout.” Diversity is also lacking on the evening news. This is an important study but it's not new. It’s part of a pattern—women are not sources in newspapers, magazines and television. This has been chronicled by various studies for more than two decades. At a time when many media outlets are struggling for women readers and viewers, don’t you think someone would make the connection? 

Take Action
Bills and policies that need your energy. We check these each week and many of these bills are coming down to the final push—so please, take action now.

YES on Illinois SB 12: Increase Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income families. Read the fact sheet. We need action THIS WEEK.

YES on Illinois HB 1826: Legalize civil unions in Illinois. Read the fact sheet. We need action THIS WEEK.

YES on federal HR 2064, the Compassionate Care for Servicewomen Act, which ensures that military women have universal and timely access to emergency contraception. This measure already went down in another amendment and needs to pass—especially considering recent reports that sexual assault against women on active duty are up and too often ignored. 

YES on U.S. Senate Bill 1105 and NO to a promised veto: Matthew Shepard Act, to expand “hate crime” to include gender, sexual orientation and disability status. CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSPEOPLE NOW.

YES on Illinois SB 5 and SB 1: Illinois Covered and state tax reform to fund it.

YES on U.S. House Resolution 121: Ask Japan to apologize for the “comfort women” of World War II. 
NO to federal abstinence-only funding in Illinois. Urge Gov. Blagojevich to turn down the money and cut state funding as well. Read more on 

YES to U.S. S.972/H.R.1653: Responsible Education About Life Act for medically accurate, comprehensive sex education. Read the fact sheet. 
What is missing?
We add perspective to recent headlines

The story: Is childhood obesity the fault of working moms? As women entered the workforce in the 1970s and ‘80s, obesity among children increased. Chicago Public Health Commissioner Terry Mason noted “a direct correlation” between the two, according to CNN. Why? Working moms don’t have the “traditional approach” of preparing home-cooked meals or encouraging exercise, said Lew Fuller of the Obesity Society. Read about this story.
What it didn’t say: Public health officials should base answers such as this on science—not the tired cliché of mother blaming. Correlation does not mean causation and the report that sparked this discussion, “Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity” states clearly that there is insufficient evidence to link working moms with overweight kids. We know it is easier to blame moms than to discuss complex issues such as: the rise of commercialism directed towards children, the invention of high fructose corn syrup, food deserts which make it harder to buy fresh food, lack of physical education as well as the epidemic of violence, making it more difficult for children to play outdoors. Public officials need to stop talking as though working women have a choice—it is an economic necessity for many women. Instead, let’s talk about society’s obligation to help parents balance work and family life.

Mark your calendar
MAY 23: Town Hall – Chicago, 5:30-8 p.m., with the Asian American Leadership Council and Asian Human Services (“What Will It Take?” program)

MAY 24: Developing Nonprofit Capacity for Effective Advocacy: How to Influence Public Policy Makers, 3-5:30 p.m.

MAY 30: Reproductive health issues briefing via conference call, 3 p.m.


In case you missed it
Catch up on more at our Press Room or our Past Events page at or our News page on
WHERE HAVE YOU SEEN “WHAT WILL IT TAKE?” If you see our PSAs on TV or hear them on the radio, or if you see one of our ads in newspapers, on buses or on billboards, email saying when and where the ad appeared. We will enter you in a drawing for a t-shirt and a few surprises. Please include your name and a daytime phone number. The first winner is Susan, who saw our ad on an NFL cable station. Keep emailing sightings for more prizes.

Speakers bureau: Want a free speaker to come and tell you or your organization about “What Will It Take?” Contact Laura Fletcher at (312) 577-2824 or More about the speakers bureau...

JULY 12 tickets to "The Color Purple" in Chicago on sale now, to benefit the Sojourner Fund of the African American Leadership Council.

SEPT. 11: The Foundation's 22nd Annual Luncheon and Symposium, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago

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