Sept. 9-15, 2008
Audio: Chicago LGBTQ history interview
San Francisco and New York are historical epicenters of the gay movement—and so is Chicago, as evidenced in the new hardcover book, “Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City’s Gay Movement,” edited by Tracy Baim (Agate/Surrey, $30). “It is kind of shocking that there has been no overview of Chicago gay history done in any one book,” Baim said to the Tuesday Blast in an interview with her. "Out and Proud in Chicago" is part of an ongoing LGBTQ history project (supported in part by a Chicago Foundation for Women grant), which also includes videotaping oral histories, digitizing collections of rare photos and documents, and providing that data free of charge online at ChicagoGayHistory.org.
Baim, who is also executive editor of Windy City Media Group and co-founder of Windy City Times, talks about the “gay lens,” the media and women in our audio interview. Listen on our website.
Consider these women’s “firsts” as noted in “Out and Proud in Chicago”:
Pearl M. Hart, an Illinois attorney, was the first lesbian to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1957.
Chicagoan Lorraine Hansberry (at right) was both the first lesbian and the first African American woman to garner the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, for her Chicago-based play “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1959.
Chicago hosted the first national Lesbian Writers’ Conferences, from 1974 to 1978. Hansberry delivered the keynote address in 1976.
Learn more at two upcoming free events in Chicago:
Thu., Sept. 18, 7 p.m.: Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark St.
Sat., Sept. 27, 12-2 p.m.: Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St.
For more upcoming dates for readings and fundraisers, including suburban locations, visit ChicagoGayHistory.org.
Amy Goodman, Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar from the “Democracy Now!” radio news show were arrested and injured by local police while covering protests outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. “Democracy Now!” is an independent news program airing daily online and on 700 networks in North America, including public radio and television. Goodman, the show’s host, was arrested when asking riot police why her producers, Kouddous and Salazar, had been detained despite press passes. Hours later all three were released, though Goodman received a citation “charging her with misdemeanor obstruction of a legal process and interference with a peace officer,” and Kouddous and Salazar face “felony P.C. (probable cause) riot charges,” according to a “Democracy Now!” press release. Goodman’s journalistic integrity and willingness to speak truth to power are rare traits today—for which she has been recognized by numerous awards. For details on this developing story, see Goodman’s column, “Why we were falsely arrested,” and see the press release by “Democracy Now!” that includes a video of Goodman’s arrest and a call to action.
Both the Republican and Democratic conventions have ended—and both parties’ platforms are now available. Stay tuned next week for our analysis of women’s issues addressed in each document, from equal pay to reproductive justice. Preview the platforms straight from the horses' (or donkey's and elephant's) mouths: Republican platform and Democratic platform (both PDFs). As a 501(c)3 organization, Chicago Foundation for Women provides this analysis for voter education purposes.
On the topic of voter education, we invite our grantees to a free workshop on Thu., Sept. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. about how nonprofits can engage in election issues and lobbying. This workshop, led by national experts from the Alliance for Justice, will outline what nonprofits can do and what they must avoid under legal statutes. Space is limited, so register online now—all current grantee groups are welcome, and non-grantees will be waitlisted.
Are women film critics “an endangered species”? A study commissioned by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists shows “that 70 percent of movie reviews published in America’s top 100 daily newspapers are written by men, and that 47 percent of those publications—almost half—ran no reviews written by female critics,” according to Jennifer Merin, the alliance’s president, in a column at the Women’s Media Center. This reflects a “deeply entrenched disparity between the number of women who go to movies and the number of women who write about them,” Merin continues. Researcher Martha M. Lauzen, the study’s author, also examines women’s representation in lead acting roles and behind-the-scenes duties from writing to directing. No wonder Merin calls her “the guru of women-in-Hollywood statistics and analysis.”
Spotlight on "Margaret Garner"
Modern-day Margaret Garners are women whose life experiences mirror the tragic yet heroic life of this slave survivor. Read a synopsis of the opera Toni Morrison based on Garner’s life.
Last week, in the wake of Hurricane Gustav and three short years after Katrina, we saw grassroots organizations reaching out to help women and girls. Along with survival and safety, women after natural disasters need access to reproductive health services. The Reproductive Health Access, Information and Services in Emergencies (RAISE) Initiative is an organization that wants access to reproductive health to be a “basic human right” following genocide or natural disaster. Women disproportionately face violence, homelessness and malnutrition after emergencies—all of which increase the risk of reproductive health complications. RAISE wants to fill the gap left by government services, many of which are limited by restrictions like the Hyde Amendment and possibly new “conscience” rules for providers as outlined by the Department of Human Services (see Advocacy section below). Margaret Garner had to make impossible choices in her day, when all available options were horrifying. Today, some Gulf Coast women had to weigh similar safety dangers from their immigration status. Enter the New Orleans Women’s Health & Justice Initiative (WHJI), which was formed by INCITE! New Orleans and local health providers after Katrina hit to provide health services as well as organize women of color and poor women around reproductive justice. When Gustav approached, WHJI checked on 700 clinic patients, and many undocumented Latina women wanted to stay behind because of a fear of immigration authorities at city-sponsored evacuation sites. Thank you to the Feministing blog for highlighting both of these groups.
The Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women (Chicago NOW) mentioned our abstinence-only-until-marriage policy brief on their blog. We are happy to see the brief being used as a resource for activists, and for those committed to women and girls in particular. Our brief has been updated recently, with links to a new public opinion poll on sexual health education and the latest profile on Illinois abstinence programs by national advocates at SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.
Read more at our Press Room and our Past Events at cfw.org.
Reminder: Submit comments on “provider conscience” regulation
and sign our online petition for reproductive justice
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has introduced a regulation (PDF) stating that family planning clinics receiving HHS grants shall not base hiring, firing or promotions on whether a worker will refuse to give a patient services, referrals or information because of moral objections. Though ostensibly about abortion and sterilization, the regulation is vague and could include objections to contraception and other reproductive care. Please add your own stories and opinions into the comment box so HHS hears a diversity of voices against this regulation. Thank you. ACT NOW: Submit your comment to HHS before Sept. 25. You can preview our talking points here.
Our online petition for reproductive justice—and an Illinois bill defending it—is still going strong. Add your name and hometown to show your love for reproductive justice for all. See our signatures so far.
Find more advocacy opportunities at our Online Action Center.
Our website calendar lists all our programs, events and cosponsorships.
In the spotlight
TODAY (SEPT. 9): Small Plates, Big Taste: Indian Tapas with Ranjana Bhargava
(Asian American Leadership Council fundraiser), 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 18 (Thu.): Grantees: Lobbying and Election-Related Activities for Nonprofits,
9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
SEPT. 18 (Thu.): Leadership Councils Fall Meet and Greet Mixer, 6-8 p.m.
SEPT. 19 (Fri.): "Hurricane Season" (Lesbian Leadership Council fundraiser),
SEPT. 25 (Thu.): Queer Funding Strategies for Women-Led Organizations and
Women Leaders (first in Lesbian Leadership Council series), 6-8 p.m.
NOV. 7 (Fri.): "Jarred: A Hoodoo Comedy" by Teatro Luna (Latina Leadership Council
fundraiser), 7:30-9:30 p.m.
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