TUESDAY BLAST - Chicago Foundation for Women's Weekly eUpdate

June 17-23, 2008

Saturday, Nov. 1
Denyce Graves in "Margaret Garner"

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves portraying Margaret Garner
Exclusive seats to Chicago premiere--only until June 23
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On June 5, Foundation board member Jane Saks received the “A Legacy of Truth and Justice: Jane SaksWomen of Valor Distinguished Achievement Award” from B'nai B'rith in recognition of her humanitarian and social justice work through the arts and culture and as an activist. Jane, who is executive director of the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media, Columbia College, was introduced by Sunny Fischer, Foundation co-founder and alumni board member. In expressing her appreciation of the award Jane says: “B'nai B'rith's commitment to human rights for the last 160 years means that B'nai B'rith understands that human dignity and human rights are not just concepts, but deeply held ideas and values that every human being in the world must be able to access. No life more valuable or worthy than any other. It is precisely these values that I was taught and live by.”

News - analysis, what's missing, Foundation updates

Women's Enews points out the sexism in a story pointing out sexism, referencing a June 13 New York Times front page story reporting how Sen. Hillary Clinton's supporters are proposing a cable news boycott and a national discussion about sexism. The glaring problem with the story, though, was that most of the people quoted were men, in fact six of nine were.

Economic insecurity in old age, especially for women, is a significant–and worsening–issue. Social Security lifted many above the poverty line, but it does not assure enough income to meet the minimum requirements for a decent life. In fact, the Social Security Administration's 2004 figures show that almost half of older unmarried women rely on their monthly checks for 90 percent or more of their income. The Illinois - Elder Economic Security Initiative (IL-EESI) documents a “bare bones” cost-of-living budget and compares it to the federal poverty guidelines, average Social Security payments and SSI. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) will be the lead speaker at a press conference launching IL-EESI at our office from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. this Monday, June 23. Wider Opportunities for Women in Washington, D.C.–the Initiative's national leaderthe Health and Medicine Policy Research Group–the lead partner in Illinois–and Chicago Foundation for Women jointly sponsor this press conference. To attend, RSVP online.

What's missing
Thank you to those who contacted us about the “What's Missing” item in the May 27-June 2 Tuesday Blast (“Crying wolf on boys' education, kids' obesity”), which addressed the Washington Post series on childhood obesity. We appreciate the critical analysis you give to the Tuesday Blast and your advocacy on issues that matter to all of us. “What's Missing” aims to challenge our approach to how we read the news, interpret policies and process information that relates to gender. For a further clarification of the position we took, click here.

Foundation news

Shelley Davis, Dr. Elders, IDHS Sec. Carol Adams, Maria Pesqueira, Mary F. Morten and AveryThe morning after our Impact Awards program, June 6, honoree Byllye Avery and presenter Dr. JM. oycelyn Elders were up bright and early to talk to health care advocates, policymakers and grantees about the pressing health needs of women of color during a conversation hosted at the headquarters of IDHS Asst Sec. Grace Hou and IDHS staffgrantee Mujeres Latinas en Accion

“Violence is our No. 1 health issue,” Avery told those who attended, many representing the Illinois Department of Human Services, a co-sponsor of the conversation. She also said women must “unleash” their power and claim “all of who [they] are” in the Catherine Jefcoat (Lesbian Community Care Project) and Carmen Valesquez (Alivio Medical Center)struggle to keep themselves healthy.

Elders, a physician, said, “Health is more than the absence of disease.” And, she stressed leadership and education. “We've got to learn to lead…and educate, educate, educate. …We have to have determined boldness, and use every opportunity we get to make a difference.” 
Leslie Kennedy (Chicago Girls Coalition) and Marvinetta Woodley-Penn (Global Girls, Inc.)
The purpose of the conversation was to capture the concerns surrounding women-of-color health care needs and lead an agenda to inform legislators and to share advocacy strategies. IDHS Secretary Carol Adams, admitting she is “very alarmed about HIV” rates among women of color, said advocates must decide what they “want to ask our legislators to do” about pressing needs.

On June 11 we hosted a Reproductive Justice Telephone Briefing on reproductive health issues faced by young women impacted by the sex trade, the last of our three-part series. The briefings Audio iconupdate reproductive health advocates, funders and public policymakers about the latest trends and issues of interest to the field. This year's series featured perspectives and voices about reproductive justice from diverse communities: Last December we highlighted the reproductive health injustices faced by detained girls and incarcerated women, and in February we shared the experiences of Illinois migrant farm worker women in obtaining reproductive health information and services. We were very fortunate to have youth and adult staff from Young Women's Empowerment Project: Ryanna Adams, Isa Villaflor, Shira Hassan and Cindy Ibarra, who discussed the national reproductive justice movement and their contributions to it on a national and local level. Shira and Cindy told our audience that as leaders in the reproductive justice movement, they are able to be at the center, rather than at the margins. They are listened to, and they see the commonality of struggle between diverse groups of girls. The reproductive justice movement takes their viewpoint and activism seriously, as should we all. Listen to audio from the call online. 

Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at


 On June 25, learn how microbicides can prevent HIV

Microbicides are a new frontier in HIV prevention. Incorporated into gels or foams used during intercourse, women worldwide could Red ribbon for HIV/AIDS awarenessespecially benefit from microbicides by taking charge of safer sex without relying on male-controlled strategies like condoms. Please join the Chicago Women and Girls HIV Prevention Coalition (of which the Foundation is a member) and the International Rectal Microbicide Advocates for this exclusive update direct from the Microbicides 2008 conference held in New Delhi, India. Read about the expert speakers and register for this free program—from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 25 at 525 S. State St. in Chicago.

Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.

Our Events
Our website calendar lists all our programs, events and cosponsorships.

In the spotlight
JUNE 19 (Thu.): Grantees: Curbside Consulting (Building Nonprofit Management Skills),
     9-11:30 a.m.
JUNE 23 (Mon.): Illinois - Elder Economic Security Initiative (IL-EESI) press conference
     (cosponsorship), 10:30-11:30 a.m.
JULY 17 (Thu.): Trivia Night at T's Bar (with Young Women's Leadership Council), 6:30-9 p.m.
JULY 23 (Wed.): Mix and Mingle (with Lesbian Leadership Council), 6-9 p.m.

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