[From] From the President
Dear LWVIL Members,
When I "googled" Ida B. Wells one day last February anticipating the very real possibility that one or both of our US Senators wouldn't accept our invitation to speak at our State of the State event, I was merely thinking that a SOS program about Ida might be interesting. After all, Ida's life story as a suffragist, sociologist, writer, publisher, reporter, early leader of the civil rights movement, who "shined the light of truth" on lynching in America is powerful and compelling.
Now I'm pondering "intersectionality" and how our SOS program will "intersect" with so many of the challenging issues plucked from our state and country's headlines and yet tied to an enduring debate. Can the promise of equality for all under the Constitution really come to pass?"
"Intersectionality - the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage." A mouthful, for sure!
Here's why I ponder it when I think of that fortuitous "Google" search last February. It led me to Renee Ferguson, board member of the Ida B. Wells Society, whose mission it is to encourage people of color to pursue investigative journalism. Renee, Chicago Emmy award-winning investigative TV reporter (now retired) immediately accepted our invitation to speak about Ida B. Wells. She said, "Ida B. Wells has served as a powerful inspiration for my life and work as an investigative reporter. Her courage, her determination to give voice to women and marginalized people in face of threats to her personal safety have been my personal touchstone."
When I shared with Renee that one or both of our US Senators might be able to join us, she immediately told me how she and Senator Durbin had worked together in the late 1990's to change the policy and practices of US Customs agents that were found to be demeaning and discriminatory against women of color.
Senator Durbin confirmed in late August that he will be able participate in SOS. Renee will be interviewing the Senator as part of our SOS program. Goodness knows there are lots of "intersecting' issues to discuss with Senator Durbin: responses nationwide to the events of Charlottesville, efforts to extend the ratification deadline for the ERA, Department of Justice "consent decrees" affecting police departments including Chicago's, really so many!
It's going to be a compelling program that you won't want to miss!
Yours in League,