She's Beautiful When She's Angry

Film Screening and Discussion

Wednesday, March 2nd / 5:30pm

Cortelyou Commons / 2324 N. Fremont Street

In celebration of Women's History Month, join The Women's Center and the Women's and Gender Studies Department for a screening of the documentary film She's Beautiful When She's Angry, that resurrects the buried history of the modern women's movement from 1966 to 1971. Amazing historical footage of meetings, speeches and rallies of the time and juxtaposed with photos of many of these same women today, now in their 60s and 70s, relishing the memories. 

One of the women in the film, Vivian Rothstein, co-founder of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union will lead the discussion following the movie. Two DePaul students will offer young women's commentaries on the film and the relevance to women's studies and activism today.

Free and open to the public

For more information call The Women's Center: 773-325-7559
Or email Diane Horwitz: dhorwit1@depaul.edu

Sponsored by The Women's Center, Latin American and Latino Studies Department, History Department, Women's and Gender Studies Department, Center for Latino Research, Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Program.

Naomi Weisstein Memorial Celebration

The Herstory project is saddened by the death of Naomi Weisstein, an active member of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, comedian, musician and pioneering neuroscientist who passed away in March. Naomi was a passionate and committed fighter for women’s liberation and she will be missed dearly. Her husband Jesse Lemisch and other loved ones are presenting a memorial for her in New York on September 20th.

The memorial is open to the public and will feature remembrances from Gloria Steinem, Martin Duberman, Amy Kesselman, Heather Booth and Naomi’s husband Jesse Lemisch. If you are interested in attending then please RSVP. Information is below.

Naomi Weisstein Memorial Celebration

September 20, 2015
1:30pm

The New School Theresa Lang Center
55 W. 13th Street, Manhattan
(east of 6th Avenue)

Open to the public
Please RSVP: jesse.lemisch@verizon.net

Read work by and about Naomi at the Herstory project:

THE LIFE AND WORK OF NAOMI WEISSTEIN

THE FEMINIST MEMOIR PROJECT

NAOMI WEISSTEIN DISCUSSES CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

INTERVIEW WITH NAOMI WEISSTEIN

A MONOLOG BY NAOMI WEISSTEIN

SUFFRAGETTE CITY: THE CHICAGO WOMEN'S LIBERATION ROCK BAND

"ONE BY ONE YOU'RE GONNA KNOW OUR POWER"

POWER, RESISTANCE AND SCIENCE

PSYCHOLOGY CONSTRUCTS THE FEMALE

DAYS OF CELEBRATION AND RESISTANCE: THE CHICAGO WOMEN'S LIBERATION ROCK BAND, 1970-1973

REMARKS ON NAOMI WEISSTEIN

Film Showing: She's Beautiful When She's Angry

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Directed by Mary Dore

Opens at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre from March 13th 2015

3733 North Southport Ave, Chicago | 773 871 6607

Special Q&As with Mary Dore and women from the film

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. She’s Beautiful takes us from the founding of NOW, when ladies wore hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of WITCH (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).

Remarkably, there has never been a theatrical documentary about the early days of women’s liberation. She’s Beautiful aims not to romanticize the early movement, but to dramatize it in its exhilarating, quarrelsome, sometimes heart-wrenching glory.

The film does not shy away from the controversies over race, sexual identity and leadership that arose in the women’s movement.  She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry captures the spirit of the time -- thrilling, scandalous, and often hilarious.

Reviews

"One of the year's best films. An urgent, illuminating dive into the headwaters of second-wave feminism." -- Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice  

“I loved it. I watched it with my daughter. Thank you so much for this film because it manages to do all the history but … also be fun.” -- Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC

"The convulsive, painful, contradictory -- and yet still threatened -- movement to see women as full partners in the human dance has, we too often forget, also enabled those of us with Y Chromosomes to re-imagine who we can be as well, which is why Mary Dore's film is much more than a simple documentary." -- Frank Browning, Huffington Post

Contact the filmmakers

Catherine Dwyer

She's Beautiful Film Project

286 13th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11215

347-552-3242

Watch the trailer

www.shesbeautifulwhenshesangry.com

www.facebook.com/ShesBeautifulWhenShesAngry

twitter.com/SBWSA

http://instagram.com/shesbeautifulwhenshesangry/

Facebook || Twitter || Trailer || Instagram

For group sales, contact: msilk@internationalfilmcircuit.com

March for Climate Justice! Chicago on Sept. 6th and NYC on the 21st!

On September 21st, thousands will come to New York City for the People’s Climate March. Organized by Bill McKibben’s 350.org and a coalition of orther environmental groups, the march is expected to be perhaps the largest mobilization for climate justice in American history. It is part of a growing wave of activism and advocacy demanding that the US government take decisive action to radically reduce carbon emissions and stem the disastrous effects of climate change.

Another part of that wave passes through here in Chicago on September 6th -- and you should plan to be at it whether or not you’re intending to be in NYC.

The Great March for Climate Action

On March 1st of this year, hundreds of people in Los Angeles took the first steps in a march across the country bound for Washington, DC. The Great March for Climate Action will culminate in DC this November and will be passing through the Chicago area for a public march action on September 6th.

According to the March’s website: “The March seeks to build the broadest possible public consensus and is focused strictly on the climate crisis.”

Everywhere along the way, the cross-country marchers have been met and encouraged by individuals and grassroots community groups, who have walked a portion of the route and attended climate rallies. We want to do what we can to celebrate and support these people and spread the message that our government representatives need to take action to encourage sustainable energy. Therefore we are encouraging any and all Chicago readers of this site to be out there on the 6th if you are able.

Get Involved and Show Support!

There are multiple options for being part of this march. At 7am on the 6th the marchers will reach the Oak Park Public Library (834 Lake Street, Oak Park) just outside of Chicago. This is right near Scoville Park and one block away from the Oak Park Green Line “L” stop. A kickoff event will take place between 7am and 8am.

Following the kickoff the marchers and supporters will then begin the twelve mile walk to Daley Plaza in Chicago. Between 10:15 and 10:45 they will reach the second opportunity for you to join the march at the Garfield Park Conservatory, right near the Conservatory Green Line “L” stop.

At 11am the march will resume and rally at the iconic Buckingham Fountain, right next to Lake Michigan. They will reach the fountain for another meetup between 1:15 and 1:45. This will be the final opportunity to join the rally if you wish to march with them. At 2pm the march will reach its destination and final rally at Daley Plaza. Speakers will begin at 2:30, including Kim Wasserman Nieto of Little Village Environmental Justice Organization. A PDF is attached here with more details regarding the march route.

Urgency

There is no doubt that the climate crisis is very real; it presents an undeniable danger to the planet while world leaders continue to drag their feet. California is experiencing the worst drought in the state’s history, and scientists are saying that it may yet be just a preview to come. The phenomenon of the climate refugee is no longer merely a “what if.”

Meanwhile, corporations and governments alike continue their reliance on fossil fuels. Pipelines and fracking projects continue to devastate ecosystems and livelihoods. All signs indicate that if these projects continue apace, carbon emissions will drive the global temperature to the point of making the planet unfit for human life.

That’s not an option. The urgency for this growing climate justice movement is as palpable as it’s ever been. The Great March for Climate Action is an opportunity to connect, organize and build this movement further, toward not just the 21st but into a movement that reaches every community, workplace and campus, that can win the kind of change to make our planet sustainable and safe for all. We hope to see you out there!

The Girls in the Band - Movie and Brunch 8/16

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Join Chicago Area Women's History Counciland AAUW Chicago for Brunch and Screening of the Film "The Girls in the Band"

 

Help celebrate the 10th Anniversary of WITASWAN (Women in the Audience Supporting Women Artists Now) and it's success promoting women positive films.

Saturday, August 16, 2014   

11:00 am - Brunch at Bravo Restaurant

1701 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL

1:00 pm - Movie Screening at Cinemark Evanston

Theater, 1715 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL

After the Film - Discussion with Director/Producer Judy Chaikin

In the 30s and 40s, hundreds of women musicians toured the country in glamorous all-girl bands, while other played side by side with male counterparts. By the mid 50s female jazz musicians had literally disappeared from the workplace, their names and contributions completely forgotten.

"The Girls in the Band" tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big ban instrumentalists and their groundbreaking journeys from the late 30s to the present day. These talented women endured sexism, racism and thwarted opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them.

For more information, the trailer and rave reviews of the film go to:

http://thegirlsintheband.com

Cost: Movie screening and Q & A - $20.00

     Brunch at Bravo Restaurant - $25.00

     Brunch and movie combo - $50 - includes special reserved seating  

Reservations required:

Mail checks, made out to AAUW, to Chicago AAUW, 2746 W. Morse Ave.

Chicago, IL 60645

or go online to purchase tickets:

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/765726

This event is cosponsored by Chicago Area Women's History Council

Women and Labor Linked

The historical relationship between the labor movement and the women's movement has been brought back to public attention, thanks to the Supreme Court of the U.S.  On June 30, the last day of its session, the Court issued rulings that are harmful to both women and labor unions.  These rulings turn back previous advancements for both groups.

Many people are not aware of the role labor women played in the early history of the second wave women's movement.  With its recent decisions, the Supreme Court has reinforced why this untold story matters.

Veteran Feminists of America (VFA) will celebrate the contribution of labor women to the women's movement at an event on Saturday, September 27, 2014, at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.

"Labor & the Women's Movement:  The untold story and why it matters" will review the history, including what really happened to Rosie the Riveter.  

The keynote speaker will be Brigid O'Farrell, author of Rocking the Boat - Union Women's Voices, 1915-1975 and She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker.

Several topics will be explored through panel discussions during the day:

  • The personal stories of labor women who played key roles in founding the second wave women's movement will be brought to life.
  • Young feminist historians who are writing about the second wave will present their new scholarship.
  • Success for women and labor through the legal system will be highlighted.
  • Women playing key roles today in a number of contemporary organizations will discuss their strategies for success.

The lunch speaker will be noted historian Dr. Alice Kessler-Harris, the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History at Columbia University.  She has written extensively on women's labor history.

The closing session will look to the future and stress the importance of women and labor working together to preserve the victories that have been gained. Closing speakers will be Dr. Emily E. LaBarbera Twarog, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois School of Labor & Employment Relations, and Mary Anne Sedey, St. Louis employment attorney.

Saturday night will feature an awards dinner, honoring feminists and labor leaders.

More details on the agenda and speakers as well as a registration form are available on the event website, http://www.vfa-midwest.org.

For hotel reservations, call 1-800-468-3571; use the group name, Veteran Feminists.

A Revolutionary Moment

The following article from Vivian Rothstein on March's women's liberation conference appeared originally at Capital & Main on April 3rd. 

The civil rights movement of the 1960s is now iconic. Who would speak out against its aims? And the farm workers are finally getting their due as Cesar Chavez and the power of the organization he led are being recalled in film and literature. But who speaks up for the women’s liberation movement? In popular culture, its activists were usually portrayed as self-centered, bra-burning,* man-hating New Yorkers.

To create an historic record of what really happened in the women’s movement, and to rescue it from ridicule and misconceptions, Boston University recently organized a conference titled, “A Revolutionary Moment: Women’s Liberation in the Late 1960s and Early 1970s.” The gathering drew more than 600 people — about two-thirds women activists and academics of that certain age, and one-third younger women and men interested in getting the history right.

In the opening conference session feminist historian Sara Evans explained that the spark that lit women’s liberation came from the other movements of the 1960s, where women gained organizing and strategizing skills as civil rights, peace and anti-poverty activists. That spark and those skills led women like me to create rape hotlines, reproductive rights campaigns, liberation schools, consciousness-raising groups, women’s newspapers, women’s clinics and innumerable other projects from Seattle to Chicago, Baltimore to Atlanta, Boston to Los Angeles and many, many cities and towns in between.

One of the most brilliant insights of women’s liberation, that the personal is political, erased the division between private and public life. This assertion brought the treatment of women out of the shadows and into public scrutiny, debate and re-definition. Journalist and historian Ruth Rosen described how, through a feminist renaming process, the long-accepted tradition of wife beating was transformed, in the public mind, to a national scourge called domestic violence. Rape, considered a hazard of being female, became a crime of sexual assault. Salacious language and acts on the job became sexual harassment, now illegal. Without this renaming of women’s grievances, we wouldn’t have been able to act.

Women’s liberation was the largest social movement in the history of the United States, said historian Linda Gordon. The rebellion was so broad and open that a huge range of people could participate, subverting some of the oldest structures of domination in our country and beyond. Within universities, religious denominations, health institutions, job sites, day care centers, family relationships and the home itself, feminist activists stepped up with new interpretations of societal relations and concrete demands for change. As Gordon described it, women began to understand that gender is not a characteristic of individual people, but rather a social system that could be challenged and transformed.

In Chicago, where I lived in the 1960s and ’70s, we formed the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, a citywide structure of women’s consciousness-raising groups and organizing programs. The union ran a newspaper, rape hotline, classes and skill-building workshops, along with a graphics collective, abortion referral service, a women’s rock band and a speakers’ bureau. At the same time we initiated campaigns to change oppressive and sexist laws and policies. Over the nearly 10 years of the organization’s existence, hundreds of women benefited from its services, volunteered on its hotlines and became leaders.

There was a belief in those heady days that everything could be changed – perhaps even overnight. And that the actions of a few could make history. So experimentation and audacious ambitions seemed sensible. Young people were challenging power structures all over the world and women were emboldened to bring our issues to the fore. There was a “utopian optimism,” as Gordon explained, that permeated the times.

Let’s hope the young women who attended the Boston conference will continue to search out the grassroots activism of the women’s liberation movement and write its history. This is a movement that deeply changed our nation and the world, and deserves attention and respect.

*Feminists never burned their bras. But others, including a Chicago radio station did, as a publicity stunt.

The Past and Future of Feminism

Over 600 people came to Boston University from March 27th through 29th to attend the conference “A Revolutionary Moment: Women’s Liberation in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.” Though a great many of those who attended were themselves veterans of those heady years, others were of a younger, emerging generation of feminists looking to learn from them. This revealed how relevant the struggles of the past continue to be; with women’s reproductive freedom and basic everyday rights both under assault across the country, there is a clear need to continue the fight.

During the course of the weekend, speakers and participants grappled with a variety of questions currently facing contemporary feminists and feminism in general. One theme that naturally arose time and again is that of building links and solidarity -- across communities, orientations, traditions and age groups.

In her keynote address, Personal Politics author Sara Evans challenged the notion that the women’s movement of the 1960s and ‘70s was dominated by whites and didn’t prioritize questions of race and racism. By putting the women’s movement in a broader context -- one of global upheaval and revolutions -- Evans insisted that today’s intersectional feminists have more in common with yesterday’s feminists than one might be led to believe.

After the opening plenary, historians discussed how the emergence of the women’s movement helped shift the narrative in the United States. This was a movement that brought hitherto ignored misogyny -- such as rape and sexual assault -- out from the shadows and into the open. The decentralized nature of these movements -- often springing up in cities quite independent of each other -- may have made it harder for these groups to withstand attacks from the right at the end of the ‘70s, but there can be little doubt that today’s women’s studies programs and the growing willingness to talk about sex in a political way remain as a legacy.

There also abounded an urge to assess just how successful past formations of the women’s movement were. Different kinds of organization were discussed throughout the weekend, from the underground abortion service providers prior to Roe v. Wade to the Combahee River Collective, from Boston Bread and Roses to the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union and other groups that organized in hospitals, workplaces, communities and campuses. Even the movement’s attempts to intervene in the realms of art, music and culture were discussed.

As attendees were reminded in the closing plenary, feminism is and has always been about much more than equality; it is about transformation. This theme naturally ran through sessions that focused on sexuality and identity, which presented attempts and theories that sought to break the restrictive binary of hetero/homosexuality and open up possibilities of a much freer sense of self. The ways in which the women’s liberation movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s enabled participants to reshape and explore their sexualities through relationships that broke the mold or defied easy categorization provided but a glimpse of what that might look like.

As one session emphasized, this spirit of redefinition and autonomy was key to all struggles at the time, in particular Civil Rights. Frequently female activists and leaders in the Black freedom struggle would end up bring their knowledge and enthusiasm into the women’s movement, and in turn bring the notion of women’s empowerment back to the fight for Civil Rights. Though every history book will tell us about Rosa Parks, all too often we fail to grasp just how key women’s participation and leadership was to the fight for integration.

Today’s feminists certainly face an uphill battle. Not only is there a backlash from the right placing reproductive rights in the crosshairs and turning a blind eye to an epidemic of rape and sexual assault; feminists also have to compete with the “Lean In” perspective, demanding that women work harder and adopt “male behavior” in order to get ahead in life. It is a perspective that takes movement and struggle entirely out of the equation, and is a dead-end as far as women’s empowerment goes. As Linda Gordon -- keynote speaker at the conference’s closing plenary -- reminded the audience, feminism remains unfinished. It also remains very relevant. Though those who struggled for freedom in the ‘60s and ‘70s are in no place to determine what comes next, it seems clear that a revived and strong movement is urgently needed.

The Lives of Immigrant Women

This article, written by Christine Riddiough and published at the website of the Democratic Socialists of America, takes up the intersections of the women's struggle with those of immigrant families and workers. 

On March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) – a holiday that originated in the United States and was later codified by the Socialist International in 1914. IWD reminds us that the struggle for women’s rights and liberation is an international struggle. This year on IWD we should remind ourselves of the role played by immigrant women in the U.S. These women, our ancestors, came seeking a better life. They got jobs as maids and nannies, in factories and on farms. Too often, they were disdained by the immigrants who had preceded them. The same is all too true today.

Last fall I attended a webinar that featured Democratic Socialists of America Honorary Chair Gloria Steinem. The webinar was sponsored by We Belong Together, “an initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, with the participation of women’s organizations, immigrant rights groups, children, and families across the country.” Steinem noted that “Historically, globally, it is women who have been on the road. If you look at refugees, migrants, those who are affected by conflict and need to find work and move for a better life, the majority have been women. Immigration is a women’s issue, and we need to change consciousness to help people understand this truth.”

Not long after the webinar, I received an email from the Ellis Island foundation asking me to "celebrate my family’s arrival to America." Yet many people who will respond to that email do not want to celebrate any new arrivals to the US, rather they demonize them. The images of immigrants today are generally like these:

  • Terrorists from the Middle East who are coming to America to kill people
  • Men climbing across barbed wire to sneak into the US from Mexico and steal jobs from hardworking Americans
  • Men coming to the United States to sell drugs

Almost all portray men coming to do nefarious things. Groups like FAIR work hard to promote those negative images of immigrants.

But who are the real immigrants? According to We Belong Together, more than half of the immigrants to the United States are women. Almost two-thirds of them work outside their homes – often in the homes of others. Children make up another quarter (approximately) of immigrants. Here are some of their stories from the We Belong Together website:

  • María came to the U.S. 10 years ago on a six-month visa as a companion for a woman with a disability who needed live-in care. Upon arrival, she was told she was not allowed to      leave the house, she was given only a cot on which to sleep, and received no pay for months.
  • Susan is a National Guard captain and student body president of JFK University. The daughter of a Japanese dad and an American mom, she fell in love and built a home with an      immigrant woman. However, when her partner Zaina’s student visa runs out she is unlikely to get an employment visa.
  • Yasmin is a law student and human trafficking survivor from Bangladesh. Yasmin was trafficked to the U.S. by her father, a white American with a Ph.D. Many of Yasmin’s relatives (many of whom were children) were held against their will, raped, and beaten.
  • Adriana is a domestic violence survivor who was afraid to call the police when her husband abused her, because of her immigration status and her husband’s threats to      report her to immigration officials. He eventually did report her, and Adriana was detained for four months. 

These are the real immigrants coming to the U.S. today. Yet too often the immigration reforms that are proposed do not address many of the issues these women face. We need to support policies that will support and strengthen women immigrants. Of course, some of the current proposals do benefit women immigrants, but that’s not true of all of them.

The proposal put forward by the White House, for example, has four main elements: 

  • Continuing to strengthen border security
  • Streamlining legal immigration
  • Earned citizenship
  • Cracking down on employers hiring undocumented workers

Perhaps the most significant of these is streamlining legal immigration. The White House proposal includes programs to keep families together. This has the potential to prevent the separation of parents and children as well as allowing same-sex couples to seek a visa based on their relationship. Also, the focus on humanitarian concerns includes victims of domestic violence as a protected group. At the same time, programs to streamline immigration often focus on entrepreneurs, investors or those with advanced science, technology, engineering or mathematics diplomas. Such a focus will often leave out many women immigrants.

The proposal to crack down on employers includes a provision to protect all workers’ right to organize. While that might protect the rights of many women now working in slave-shop conditions, how would it affect many immigrant women who are domestic workers?

Because so many women immigrants do domestic labor, proposals that link eligibility for citizenship to proof of work leave out many women. Without the work that these women perform, other work would simply not get done. So proposals for immigration reform must include a path to citizenship or legalization that recognizes the contributions of women’s work and women workers.

A fair immigration policy would protect women on the job. Only one quarter of all employment visas are given to women as principal holders. Yet women workers perform necessary work from housekeeping to childcare, as well as high tech jobs. Sexual harassment on the job and exploitive working conditions place an additional burden on women workers.

Breakthrough also focuses on women and immigration issues as part of their mission to make violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable. They, like We Belong Together, highlight the impossible choices women face, such as whether to stay with an abusive partner or risk deportation.

Many survivors of violence – be it domestic abuse or on the job – are also forced to stay silent in dangerous situations because they are dependent on the sponsorship of an abusive spouse or employer. In many cases these women fear deportation if they go to support organizations, local police or immigration agents. Ineffective immigration laws allow human traffickers to exploit women.

This International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the immigrant heritage that many of us share by honoring today’s immigrant women – by supporting fair and just immigration reform. Such reform must protect families and working people and ensure that women are included fully in any reform. In a nation that values liberty and justice for all, we cannot continue to put into practice laws that harm families and punish aspiring Americans.

We Belong Together is a campaign to mobilize women in support of common-sense immigration reform that will keep families together and empower women. Immigration reform is rarely thought of as a women’s issue, but in fact it is central to the fight for women’s equality. Millions of immigrant women who are part of the fabric of our communities, workplaces, and schools are blocked from achieving their full potential because of a broken immigration system. They perform essential jobs, like taking care of our children and our aging parents, and are central to family and community well-being. More information can be found at: http://www.webelongtogether.org/fast

Stop the Abuse of Women Workers at 
McDonalds and Whole Foods: Fight for 15!

Bob Simpson, a longtime social justice activist in Chicago, spent his International Women's Day covering the protests of women employed in fast food and retail as part of the ongoing Fight for 15 campaign. His experiences were first published at Daily Kos.

“Unlike nations which have rational labor policies like sick leave, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, vacation time, generous retirement and which protect the right to organize a union, the USAhas chosen the opposite course. This has led to some of the worst inequality in the developed world, which because of our rampant gender and racial discrimination, falls heaviest on women, particularly women of color.”

International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8, was originally inspired by the historic 1909 “Uprising of the 20,000”, a garment workers strike of women in NYC, many of them immigrants. They demanded better pay, better working conditions and the right to join a union.

So it made sense that the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC), which leads the Fight for $15 campaign in the city, should celebrate International Women's Day by standing up for the rights of women workers in 2014.

A Chicago McDonald's worker named Carmen Navarrette had been told that she "should put a bullet through her head," because she had requested permission to go home after become very ill at work. She is a diabetic and had just been released from the hospital.

As a result, dozens of WOCC members and supporters marched into a North Side McDonald's on International Women's Day to demand an end to this kind of discrimination and verbal abuse. 

On the morning of March 8, a smaller groupof WOCC members and allies picketed a North Side Chicago Whole Foods and demanded the reinstatement of Rhiannon Brochat. She was fired after she stayed home with her special needs child when Chicago schools were closed on the worst day of the Polar Vortex. 

McDonald's and Whole Foods may seem like very different companies, but their attitude toward women workers is remarkably similar.

WOCC challengedMcDonald's to end its verbal abuse of women workers

The McDonald's action on March 8 was scheduled to begin around2 pm at the Rock N’ Roll McDonald's, the trendy flagship store located in the touristy part of town near the Rainforest Cafe and the Hard Rock Cafe. I got there a bit early to take some pictures.

After ordering a cup of coffee inside the McDonald's, I talked with the women from the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, well known for their militant civil disobedience tactics. They were waiting for the WOCC protest to begin so they could join in.

I stepped outside with my coffee and within minutes a yellow school bus pulled up and I could hear the voices inside singing,”Ole!...Ole!...Ole! Ole! Ole!...si se puede!” The bus emptied out as adults and their children joined other WOCC members on the sidewalk for a short rally. 

WOCC members were proud to participate in International Women’s Day.  Rock N' Roll McDonald’s worker Carmen Navarrette said this:

"Women are the heart and soul of McDonald's and in honor of International Women's Day, I'm asking you to stop the verbal abuse."--translated from Spanish

The WOCC women led a march into the MacDonald's to confront Francisco Quintana, the manager who had hurled the ugly words about how Carmen Navarrette should go home and kill herself. Armed with human voices, a guitar and a couple of bullhorns, WOCC gave McDonald's quite an earful.

A WOCC member invited Francisco Quintana to come out and face them, pointing out that he too had a mother and saying,”Respect us, please”. He decided to display his cowardice instead, and hid out in the back of the kitchen. 

That began a series of loud chants,”Francisco, come out! We’ve got some stuff to talk about!” Several of the McDonald's workers behind the counter were smiling broadly as they watched the whole scene play out.

The daughter of a McDonald's worker talked about how her mom comes home crying because:

“... the manager would scream at her and yell mean things. And right now she is pregnant and he makes her carry more than she is supposed to and that’s not good for her. But he says he doesn’t care.”

WOCC was accompanied into the McDonald's by several local politicians including City Council member Bob Fioretti, often mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate against Rahm Emanuel. He helped liaison with the police while we were inside.

When it became clear that Francisco Quintana had no intention of facing his accusers, we were asked to leave by the police and exited chanting “We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”. 

At another short rally outside, a WOCC spokeswoman delivered a mic-check:

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“Francisco, we demand an end to the abuse. An end to discrimination. We want to work to advance our families. So they can have a better future. We demand respect. For all our co-workers. And its our right to organize. Legal status does not matter. When you are united you are protected. You have the power. You have a voice. We want to work. To provide for our families.To have a better future. We deserve and demand respect!”

 WOCC ended the event by singing “We Shall Overcome” in both English and Spanish.

Demand the reinstatement of Rhiannon Broschat to her job at Whole Foods.

That morning of March 8, at the North Side Whole Foods where Rhiannon Brochat once worked, the sidewalks were dangerous and slippery from accumulated ice and slush. Picketers organized by WOCC held up signs and passed out leaflets to Whole Foods customers and passersby. I arrived late because of CTA problems but was soon holding a sign.

Rhiannon Brochat believed that staying home with her child when Chicago schools were closed on January 28 gave her no choice, as she had no childcare available. According to Brochat, Whole Foods had just revised their attendance policy to include “inclement weather”, but somehow that did not include the Polar Vortex, when temps plunged dangerously below zero. 

Matt Camp, a WOCC leader at Whole Foods, had this to say in a statement soon after the firing:

“Whole Foods is a company that says it's fighting poverty worldwide. Whole Foods is also a company that says it stands by women as primary caregivers. How can you stand by women and take my coworker and kick her out in the cold?”

Our protest in support of Rhiannon Brochat was only one of 17 rallies planned around the nation coinciding with International Womens Day. The feminist group Ultraviolet has taken up Rhiannon’s cause and organized a petition drive that has netted 70,000 signatures.

Led by the ever energetic WOCC member Brit Schulte, picketers chanted and sang in front of the store for over an hour. With the help of smart phones, which provided all the lyrics, the group sang the traditional verses of Solidarity Forever, plus a special additional verse celebrating working women.

WOCC finished its morning demonstration with a short speech from Brit Schulte about the origins of International Women's Day and their relevance today. Schulte reminded us that International Women’s Day (IWD) is also called International Working Women's Day (IWWD)  a more accurate name considering its origins.

Last year Whole Foods had a store-wide celebration of International Women's Day, carefully avoiding the IWWD version of the name by making sure “Working” was not in its signage. The celebration consisted of a nail polish swap and spa day with signs “inviting women to treat themselves.” Schulte criticized this by saying,

“Are we going to let our working peoples holiday get painted over by the Whole Foods consumerist and gender-normative bullshit or are we going to celebrate International Working Women's Day (IWWD) by standing with working women and working mothers like Rhiannon who are struggling for respect and fair treatment on the job?”

 Schulte than demanded that Rhiannon Brochat be reinstated immediately with full back pay.

Abuse of women workers is widespread across the US economy

 The abuse that Corporate America threw at Carmen Navarrette and Rhiannon Brochat is typical. Too many companies view women workers as a form of cheap disposable labor, much like the sweatshop owners who provoked the Uprising of the 20,000 over 100 years ago.

Unlike nations which have rational labor policies like sick leave, paid parental leave, affordable childcare, vacation time, generous retirement and which protect the right to organize a union, the USAhad chosen the opposite course. This has led to some of the worst inequality in the developed world, which because of our rampant gender and racial discrimination, falls heaviest on women, particularly women of color.

 On top of all of that economic burden, comes the stress of cruel verbal abuseand the threat of arbitrary discipline without fair hearing.

 The women of the Fight for $15 campaign want a world where a decent standard of living and respect for all is the norm.

Is that too much to ask?

Unmentionables: A New Novel by Laurie Loewenstein

In Laurie Lowenstein's debut historial novel, main character Marian Elliot Adams an outspoken advocate for sensible undergarments for women, sweeps onto the Chautauqua stage under a brown canvas tent on a sweltering August night in 1917, and shocks the gathered town of Emporia with her speech: How can women compete with men in the work place and in life if they are confined by their undergarments?

The crowd is further appalled when Marian falls off the stage and sprains her ankle, and is forced to remain among them for a week. As the week passes, she throws into turmoil the town’s unspoken rules governing social order, women, and African Americans.

The recently widowed newspaper editor Deuce Garland, his lapels glittering with fraternal pins, has always been a community booster, his desire to conform rooted in a legacy of shame—his great-grandfather married a black woman, and the town will never let Deuce forget it, especially not his father-in-law, the owner of the newspaper and Deuce’s boss. Deuce and his father- in-law are already at odds, since the old man refuses to allow Deuce’s stepdaughter, Helen, to go to Chicago to fight for women’s suffrage.

Lowenstein deals with the complex issues of race and gender along with love and loneliness.

"Unmentionables is a sweeping and memorable story of struggle and suffrage, love and redemption...Loewenstein has skilfully woven a story and a cast of characters that will remain in the memory long after the book’s last page has been turned."
--New York Journal of Books

Laurie Lowenstein is going on a book tour so be sure and circle your calendar when she arrives in your town.

  • Wed., February 12, 5:30 PM—PROVIDENCE, RI—Brown University Bookstore, 244 Thayer Street
  • Wed., February 19, 7:00 PM—OCONOMOWOC, WI—Books & Company, 1039 Summit Avenue
  • Thurs., February 20, 7:00 PM—CHICAGO, IL—The Book Cellar, 4736 N Lincoln Avenue
  • Wed., March 5, 7:00 PM—CINCINNATI, OH—Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Road
  • Mon., March 10, 7:00 PM—ANN ARBOR, MI—Nicola’s Books, Westgate Shopping Center, 2513 Jackson Avenue
  • Wed., April 30, 7:00 PM—AUSTIN, TX—BookPeople, 603 North Lamar
  • Thurs., May 1, 7:00 PM—HOUSTON, TX—Brazos Bookstore, 2421 Bissonnet Street

100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage in Illinois

In June 1913, Illinois became the first state east of the Mississippi to grant women the right to vote for presidential electors and some local offices. The League of Women Voters Chicago is holding a celebration of this occasion

Tuesday, June 11, 2013
6 to 8 p.m
Exchequer
226 S. Wabash Ave.


Co-sponsoring the celebration are Chicago Area Women's History Council and Working Women's History Project. This event will feature an original play by Mary Bonnett about three Illinois women, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Catherine Waugh McCulloch, and Grace Wilbur Trout, whose activism was crucial in making women's suffrage a reality in this state.  Ald. Leslie Hairston will be our featured speaker. The cost of this event is $25, which includes salad, pizza, and wine. Scroll down and click on the link below for a flyer.  

RSVP with payment required by June 1. Online at LWVChicago.org or mail checks made out to LWVChicago Education Fund to LWVChicago, 332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 525,Chicago, IL 60604

Voices of Chicago Women Activists and Leaders: Oral Histories 1945 - 2000

Chicago Area Women's History Council and Columbia College Honors Oral History Class invites you to a program of student oral history presentations in connection with our project:

"Voices of Chicago Women Activists and Leaders: Oral Histories 1945 - 2000"

Dr. Erin McCarthy, Associate Professor of History at Columbia College, led her honors students in a semester long introduction to the methodology and practice of oral history interviewing using CAWHC's project as a foundation for the class' research and interviews. In this program students will present an edited version of their interviews in a variety of creative formats.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

12:30 - 3:30pm

1104 S. Wabash, Room 504

This program is free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary. Light refreshments will be served.

Contact: emccarthy@colum.edu

Chicago Area Women's History Council

The Chicago Area Women's History Council is a non-profit, membership organization that promotes the documentation, interpretation, preservation, and sharing of Chicago women's history. Founded in 1971, the organization serves as a dynamic network of academic historians, archivists, teachers, museum professionals public historians, independent scholars, preservationists, activists and others interested in the study of Chicago women past and present.

If you are interested in Chicago women's history, please join us.

Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

Revolution Books & Wicker Park Public Library present:

Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum

May 29, 2013

6 - 8pm

1701 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Author reading, book signing and refreshments

"The characters in Good Kings Bad Kings made me laugh over and over again, and cry, and cheer. This is fiction at its best. The story's sharp eye allows no one to take shelter, and it doesn't flinch; it is simply and breathtakingly honest. A stunning accomplishment." -BARBARA KINGSOLVER

 This powerful and inspiring debut is the 2012 winner of Barbara Kingsolver's PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Told in alternating perspectives by a varied and vocal cast of characters, Nussbaum's novel pulls back the curtain to reveal the complicated and punishing life inside the walls of an institution (set on Chicago's South Side) for juveniles with disabilities.

Playwright SUSAN NUSSBAUM's works have been produced at many theaters. In 2008 she was cited by the Utne Reader as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" for her work with girls with disabilities. Nussbaum lives in Chicago. This is her first novel.

Contact: Revolution Books for more information

773-489-0930 0or  revbookschi@yahoo.com

Additional reading:

June 5, 2013
Women and Children First
Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark Street

Contact for this event: Ann Christophersen, wcfann@gmail.com773-769-9299

Memorial for Lynda Tipton

Lynda Tipton worked briefly as a staff person for Chicago Women’s Liberation Union and was a group leader in the CWLU Liberation School. Throughout her life Lynda was an activist for social justice.

Lynda Jo Tipton, age 67, passed away on March 16th after more than a year-long battle with kidney cancer. Lynda was the daughter of the late Joel W. and Elva (nee Bailey) Tipton of Erwin, TN. Lynda is survived by husband David de Vries, son Evan de Vries, sister Betty Scott of Waukesha, WI and sister Barbara Ratliff of Vermillion, OH.

Throughout her life Lynda was an activist for social justice. She marched for civil rights and women’s rights and against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. After her work with the CWLU Lynda worked ten years as a union representative for SEIU Local 73. There she represented clerical, janitorial and technician staff at several Chicago area hospitals. As the mother of a biracial son, she was one of the founding members of the Interracial Family Network in the late 1980’s. She was very pleased to have lived long enough and see Barack Obama re-elected as President with high hopes for continued new directions domestically and internationally.

Memorial service for family and friends

Date: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm Following the memorial service, the family will receive friends until 4 p.m.

Memorial location: Olson Burke/Sullivan Funeral & Cremation Center, 6467-77 N. Northwest Hwy., Chicago, IL www.obsfuneralandcremation.com, 773-774-3333.

Donations in lieu of flowers

Send donations in the memory of Lynda Tipton to:

The Kidney Cancer Association
www.kidneycancer.org, 800-850-9132

Remembrance book about Lynda

We are asking that our immediate family and friends prepare a remembrance to share with all guests at the memorial, if you feel up to it. Eileen Willenborg will also be collecting remembrances in text form to include in a book of same. If you can prepare something to share, please do. She will be available after the memorial or by e-mail to talk with you about arrangements. Please send your remembrances and questions to emwillenborg@gmail.com.

More About Lynda

Lynda J. Tipton

December 17, 1945 - March 16, 2013

Lynda was born in the heart of Appalachia and the youngest child by 16 years of Joel Worth and Elva (nee Bailey) Tipton. Her early years were spent in Coalwood, West Virginia where her father worked as a coal miner. When her father retired from the mines, they moved to Erwin, Tennessee where her parents had grown up. Lynda graduated from Unicoi County High School in 1963 and attended East Tennessee State University for a year before following her brothers and sisters to the Midwest.

Lynda settled in Chicago and worked as a secretary while attending the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and beginning graduate school, Lynda worked the night shift in the sleep laboratory for Dr. Rosalind Cartwright as a sleep and dream researcher. She then worked briefly as the staff person for the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (CWLU), followed by ten years as a union representative for SEIU Local 73. There she represented clerical, janitorial and technician staff at several Chicago area hospitals. Lynda ended her working career as the business manager for Firetech Engineering Incorporated, the company she founded with her husband in 2001.

Throughout her life Lynda was an activist for social justice. She marched for civil rights and women’s rights and against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. As a member of CWLU, she served as a group leader in the Liberation School. As the mother of a biracial son, she was one of the founding members of the Interracial Family Network in the late 1980’s. She was very pleased to have lived long enough and see Barack Obama re-elected as President with high hopes for continued new directions domestically and internationally.

Lynda met her husband, David de Vries, in 1976. They married on May 7, 1977 and lived 25 years in the West Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago before moving to Evanston. Together they became parents of Evan, who was adopted in 1986 at the age of 15 months. Lynda often said that being a mother to Evan was one of the best and most rewarding parts of her life. Evan is now an independent adult, a fire investigator by profession and a musician and Renaissance Faire actor by choice.

In November 2011 Lynda was diagnosed with kidney cancer. During surgery to remove the kidney, it became apparent that the cancer had already spread into her lymphatic system where it was inoperable. After seven months in a clinical trial for a new chemotherapy protocol at NIH in Maryland, the doctors determined that the treatment was not working and it was terminated in September 2012. She died in the early hours of March 16, 2013.

Lynda was preceded in death by her parents and her brothers, Leonard and William (“J.R.”) Tipton. She is survived by her husband David de Vries, son Evan de Vries and sisters Betty Scott and Barbara Ratliff. At her request her remains were cremated and her ashes will be tossed to the wind in a mountain-top meadow on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. Donations in her name to the Kidney Cancer Association (www.kidneycancer.org) would be welcome.

"Absolutely Safe" – a film about women’s health

Film screening and discussion on women’s health topics
Featuring Our Bodies Ourselves co-founder Judy Norsigian & filmmaker Carol Ciancutti-Leyva

Please join us to view the film and engage in a discussion on women’s health topics including breast implant safety, body image, and women’s health activism.

Date: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Place: Auditorium, UIC School of Public Health,

1603 W. Taylor Street, Chicago, IL

This event is FREE and open to the public. Reserve your seat today.
To request more information, or to request accommodations, please contact Kris at 312-413-4251 or kzimme3@uic.edu.
Flyer: http://www.uic.edu/depts/crwg/AbsolutelySafeUIC.jpg
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/468086736586179/


ABSOLUTELY SAFE takes an open-minded, personal approach to the controversy over breast implant safety. ABSOLUTELY SAFE is the story of everyday women who find themselves and their breasts in the tangled and confusing intersection of health, money, science, and beauty. 

Carol Ciancutti-Leyva’s inspiration for ABSOLUTELY SAFE came from her mother. She believed her mother’s declining health was due to silicone breast implants. Her goal for the film was to encourage viewers to think about, question, and debate not only breast implant safety but also the quest for perfection and beauty that we all confront.

Judy Norsigian is the executive director and a co-founder of Our Bodies Ourselves, formerly known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective. She is an internationally renowned speaker and author on a range of women’s health concerns, including women and health care reform, abortion and contraception, childbirth, sexually transmitted infections, and genetics and reproductive technologies. Ms. Norsigian has been an author and editor for each of the nine editions of Our Bodies,Ourselves, the organization’s landmark book on women’s health and sexuality.

Sponsors:
UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender / National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health
UIC Maternal and Child Health Program
Radical Public Health

Music Exhibition Nov 30

New exhibit opening featuring second wave feminist musicians in South London.

Here's a blurb from the co-curator:

"Music & Liberation: Women’s Liberation Music-Making in the UK, 1970-1989, shows how feminists used music as an activist tool to entertain and empower women during the 1970s and 1980s.

Dear friends,

I thought you may be interested in - and may be able to tell others about - this exhibition based on the online Women's Liberation Music Archive - opening 30 November in South London. Features loads of feminist musicians from the 70s and 80s, many of whom continue to play and sing and make fab music today! This will be a great trip down Memory Lane for many people - and full of discovery for others - music to listen to, photos, posters, films, events. All welcome!

A compilation CD pressed especially for the exhibition will be on sale - twenty tracks from the bands and singers of yester-yore, such as Spoilsports, Ova, Mistakes, Hi-Jinx, Frankie Armstrong, Fabulous Dirt Sisters, Stepney Sisters, Jam Today, Siren and many more. All proceeds from the CD sales will go to benefit the archive.

Please see http://womensliberationmusicarchive.wordpress.com/ and http://music-and-liberation.tumblr.com/ for all the info! 

Best wishes

 Frankie Green, Co-curator, 

The Women's Liberation Music Archive

Feminist music-making from the 1970/80s

http://womensliberationmusicarchive.wordpress.com"

ICAH event honoring Jenny Knauss on Nov. 16th

Location: Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Chicago

Time: 6 to 9pm

If you would like to gather after the event to share memories of Jenny and CWLU please RSVP to Estelle Carol at infogal[at]cwluherstory.org. Suggestions of where to gather are welcome.

ICAH is truly saddened by this loss of a leader and tireless advocate, and will honor her memory and give tribute to her legacy at a fall ICAH 35th anniversary celebration and reunion gathering.  Jenny died on June 11, 2012. Two awards will be presented: The Jenny Knauss Youth Advocate Award and the Jenny Knauss Emerging Organization Award.

See the details in the ICAH event notice below and BUY TICKETS for $75 at the ICAH website.  Please send this notice to friends and colleagues. We hope you will be able to come, meet old friends, honor Jenny and learn about plans the Caucus has in the coming year.

New Jenny Knauss bio on Herstory website

With the ICAH 35th anniversary event rolling around, we added a bio of Jenny Knauss to our bio section by Yamani Hernandez, which was also featured on the ICAH website.

Remembering Jennifer Knauss, Fierce Leader and Advocate

Jennifer Knauss was a active CWLU member from its beginning to its end. Born in UK, she spent 5 years in Nigeria and Ghana before coming to US. Her first work for CWLU was working on a draft of an anti-imperialism paper with Vivian Rothstein and others. She then worked on the liberation school workgroup, participated in a day care group and the sit-in at City Hall to demand more day care. Jenny was also active in developing health programs in CWLU. This was partly done in collaboration with two other English women: Rachel Fruchter, who were working on women's health issues in New York City at the time, and Deb Dobbin, Jenny's sister, who was a strong link with JANE.

Jenny Knauss legacy

Jenny Knauss was a leading presence in the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union (CWLU) as a member of the Ms O’Leary Chapter, a founder and teacher in the Liberation School, and in women’s health projects.

Jenny epitomized the warmth and enthusiasm of the women’s movement for changing women’s consciousness. Her generous spirit and ready laugh touched all who knew her – from young women in an Our Bodies Our Selves class, to a picket line or CWLU members achieving consensus at yet a another meeting.

For all your work and more, we love and miss you.

Jenny donated her files to McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University (accessible for research). 

 

The Hazards of Manhood

by Michael Schwalbe

posted Oct 30, 2012 here over at Yes! Magazine.

 "One way to enhance the exploitability of male bodies is to instill in them the desire to be men. The trick is to make feelings of self-worth contingent on the ability to display the qualities culturally defined as signs of being a real man."

Schwalbe's contention that economic freedom and prosperity are intrinsically connected to gender is completely in-line with the CWLU's. The lack of economic agency can be directly tied to suicide, men working themselves to death, smoking, and any other self-destructive act done for masculine status. The feelings of inadequacy are a powerful tool used by advertsing and capatalism as a motivator to spend more money and work harder and these drives have to effect our gender conceptions female and male.  

Honoring Jenny Knauss

A reminder that the Illinois Caucus on Adolescent Health event on Nov. 16th honoring Jenny Knauss has tickets on sale now (before September 15th) for $60.  See the details in the notice below and visit the ICAH website for tickets.  Please send this notice to friends and colleagues.

We hope you will be able to come, meet old friends, honor Jenny and learn about plans the Caucus has in the coming year.  Two awards will be presented:

Jenny Knauss Youth Advocate Award and the Jenny Knauss Emerging Organization Award.