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Tuesday Blast: The Birds and the Bees: 2013 Edition
Delivered: May 7, 2013
May 2013 Edition
By K. Sujata, CFW President & CEO
Sex education in Illinois public schools is getting a makeover through Illinois House Bill 2675. In April, HB 2675 was passed, but it is now awaiting Senate approval before it becomes a law. The bill requires that medically accurate, age-appropriate information on reducing STDs, STIs and unintended pregnancies be the new sex-education standard for both middle and high school students. The bill also allows for parents the choice to opt out of their children participating. HB 2675 is intended to help teens make healthy and responsible decisions about sex, and give them the valuable information that currently is not part of a school’s sex education curriculum.
HB 2675 is not a mandate for schools to teach sex education, but simply requires that schools electing to teach sex ed do so in a comprehensive manner. Currently, the sex education curriculum in Illinois is not required to be comprehensive and medically accurate. Also, Illinois, at present, does not require that teachers use an evidence-based curriculum. For instance, if a teacher believes only in abstinence education, then he/she is allowed to teach that, no questions asked.
Some supporters of “abstinence only” education believe the comprehensive approach used in HB 2675 is “explicit, inappropriate sex education.” This ignores studies that show abstinence-only sex education has no effect on the start of sexual activity among youth or the likelihood that, if they do engage in sex, will use safe practices. In fact, a federal study in 2007 showed that abstinence-only programs have had “no impact on rates of sexual abstinence.”
Chicago Foundation for Women believes that all of our state's young adults should have equal access to the information they need to make educated and conscientious choices about their sexual health. CFW grantee ACLU of Illinois has been leading a coalition in support of comprehensive sex education throughout the state and helping other organizations understand HB 2675. Other CFW grantees that have been supportive of this bill include: Midwest Access Project, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.
CFW grantee Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (IMCHC) also supports the bill because of the core values that the bill represents: it empowers youth, addresses reproductive justice, and answers a clear need in the community.
“This bill is important for our female teens, especially from [a] reproductive justice standpoint,” said Kathy Waligora, M.S.W., the policy and communications coordinator for IMCHC. “A major part of controlling your body is having an understanding of your body and how to make different decisions. If comprehensive sex education is part of a student’s curriculum, we hope that [students] will also develop a greater respect for themselves.”
Another CFW grantee, Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) believes that the bill is a step in the right direction, but is missing a key voice: youth who identify as LGBTQA.
Yamani Hernandez, executive director of ICAH, says that HB 2675 “…puts an explicit emphasis on ‘heterosexual marriage’ which is a conflict for many of the youth we serve who identify as LGBTQA, and for us as an organization, as two of the core areas of our theory of change are 'safe space' and 'no shame'. Emphasizing, 'heterosexuality' is detrimental to the health of a large population of youth. While we fully support progress away from abstinence only sex-ed, we cannot support emphasis on ‘heterosexuality’. If this bill passes, Illinois will have succeeded in removing abstinence-only as a standard of sexual health for our teens, but further legislation is needed to protect all youth in Illinois."
At the end of the day, this bill is about responsibility. If we ask teens to make responsible decisions about sex, we must offer accurate information so that they can make knowledgeable and healthy decisions regarding their future.
Share your thoughts about sex education on CFW's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Planning for CFW's 28th Annual Luncheon featuring Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas D. Kristof is well underway and tables are selling fast! Currently, individual tickets are unavailable, but to ensure your spot, reserve your table online. For sponsorship information or to join the host committee, please contact Ilda Lagunas at (312) 577-2810, TTY (312) 577-2803 or email@example.com.
Thank you to our generous sponsors who have already committed to the Luncheon:
Sondra Berman Epstein, Maria C. Bechily and Abby O'Neil
Marcena W. and Norris Love
Grace Allen Newton and David Weinberg
ComEd - An Exelon Company
Donna M. and Thomas H. Stone
Ellen Benjamin and Frederick Bates
Ginny and Terry Holt
Miriam J. Kelm
Catherine and Addison Braendel
DiMeo Schneider & Associates, LLC
Official Print Media Sponsor
Official Radio Sponsor
CFW's STEM Girl Featured in Modern Metals
K. Sujata, president and CEO of Chicago Foundation for Women, is featured in this month's "Modern Metals," a magazine for metal service centers, oems and fabrications.
In the article, Sujata explains her personal journey in her STEM career, what's needed for women in the fields, and how her work with CFW connects with her past career as a metallurgist. We hope that the article encourages others in the STEM field to become mentors!
Read the article, "A former metallurgist discusses the gender gap in STEM fields."
Spring Gathering in Oak Park!
Join your friends and neighbors for a spring fundraiser in support of CFW. The event is on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Chicago Foundation for Women hosts three annual house parties to give new and current CFW supporters an intimate look into our work. Event attendees interact with CFW staff and grantees to learn about what the Foundation does, why our grantmaking is distinctive, and why we need additional support. Come enjoy spring with friends and neighbors in Chicago's Oak Park! To register, click HERE.
POWER: Opening Doors for Women®
CFW is a proud partner of the 9th Annual POWER Chicago event which takes places Thursday, May 30, starting at 3:30 pm at Merchandise Mart. POWER: Opening Doors for Women® is an organization that promotes and develops women leaders by providing a unique educational opportunity for women within all levels of their careers. POWER: Opening Doors for Women® also provides a space for women to interact and exchange ideas with thought leaders, industry experts, and their peers alike.
The 9th Annual POWER Chicago is a one-evening, three-part program that features professional development workshops, a general reception and keynote address, and simultaneous, theme-specific executive panel dinners hosted at various locations throughout the city. This year's keynote speaker is Wanda J. Herndon, CEO of W Communications, a strategic communications consulting firm, and former senior vice president of Global Communications for Starbucks Coffee Company. For more information, please visit the event website.
Success! IL Senate Votes to Eliminate Felony Prostitution
Congratulations to Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) and their newest End Demand Illinois bill, SB 1872, victory! The bill eliminates felony prostitution in Illinois and will now move with strong momentum into the Illinois House of Representatives.
Youth Job Center Celebrates 30 Years
For 30 years Evanston’s Youth Job Center (YJC) has been a place for young people to find a job – and much more. The Youth Job Center recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. Take a look at their heartwarming video and learn more about their impact in the last 30 years. The video also features the CFW funded WILL (Women Invested in Learning and Livelihoods) program.
Marriage Equality in Illinois Lacks Diversity
Recently, two CFW grantees were featured on WBEZ.org to discuss the lack of diversity in the push for same-sex marriage here in Illinois. Joy Messinger, the manager of sexual health education at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) and a member of the LBTQ Giving Council, and Kim Hunt, executive director of Affinity Community Services, were participants in the conversation. To hear the full interview, click here.
CAASE Featured in FOX Chicago Story on Johns and Demand
CAASE’s Rachel Durchslag and researcher Lara Janson were featured in a story on FOX Chicago about the demand for paid sex in Illinois. Reporter Robin Robinson interviewed Lara about her research of johns’ online message boards.
Recently, CAASE published research about online message boards where men discuss buying sex in Illinois. Johns on these boards detail where they are buying sex from women and girls, how they evade law enforcement and what law enforcement efforts do actually deter them from what they call their "great hobby." Read the full report: "Our Great Hobby: An Analysis of Online Networks for Buyers of Sex in Illinois."
WARNING: The report contains quotations with explicit content, including descriptions of sexual violence.
The White House Awards Myrla of Latino Union a "Champion of Change" Award
The White House recently awarded Myrla Baldonado, a household worker organizer of the Latino Union (a CFW grantee), with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI ) “Champion of Change” Award. She received the award with 14 other AAPI women who are working to create a more equal, safe, and prosperous future for their communities and the country. Congratulations Myrla!
10th Annual Breaking Barriers Awards
Today, the Asian American Leadership Council will honor Asian and Asian American women who are pioneers in their field at the 10th Annual Breaking Barriers Awards. The Breaking Barriers awards are presented annually to Asian and Asian American women leaders in the metropolitan Chicago area who have made an outstanding and lasting impact in their fields.
This year is the 10th Anniversary for the event, which was the first of its kind in the country. In honor of the 10-year milestone, this year’s theme will honor Asian and Asian American women who have been pioneers in whatever field they have chosen. For more information, click HERE.
Visit our website calendar to see all our upcoming programs and events.
7: 10th Annual Breaking Barriers Awards with the Asian American Leadership Council
8: Spring Gathering in Oak Park to Benefit CFW
11, 15, 18: Board Boot Camp
CFW grantees: Want to be sure your news clips and awards get in the Blast?
Email Blast editor Sharonda at firstname.lastname@example.org or share the good news on our Facebook and Twitter pages!
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