MFN Forum on Sex Trafficking: 9/14/19 @ 10:00 a.m. in Macomb City Hall

The Macomb Feminist Network, with the Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling, will host a forum on sex trafficking during its Saturday, September 14, meeting in the Community Room of Macomb’s City Hall from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Though not widely recognized, especially in rural areas, sex trafficking is a serious issue throughout the United States, with Illinois being the state with the highest number of sex trafficking occurrences. Program presenters will include local residents Diane Mayfield and Janice Rockwell, as well as Dana Pfeiffer, Founder/Director of Grounds of Grace, a not for profit 501 c3 that supports victims and survivors of sex trafficking in several Illinois cities.

Diane Mayfield served as Victim Services Director with the Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency for almost 20 years and continues to assist with grant writing at the agency. Before moving to the area she taught in Kansas public schools for 27 years and volunteered as a public speaker, professional trainer, and victim advocate for the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault in Kansas City and the surrounding area.

Janice Rockwell, after a career as an art teacher and a school counselor in west central Illinois, founded, with other concerned people, Western Illinois Traffic Stop (WITS). WITS focuses mainly on “increasing awareness about the staggering reality of people enslaved in sex trafficking globally, nationally and regionally.”  The group has shared information about the issue with the Regional Office of Education and continues to work with educators, social workers, school psychologists and therapists within the region.

Dana Pfeiffer founded Grounds of Grace which helps survivors and provides a home for women recovering from the effects of sex trafficking. Grounds of Grace, a statewide organization, is unique in that it meets each person where they are whether this is in a home, jail, prison, shelter, psych unit or on the streets. Programs are managed by volunteer counselors and supported through community resources and facilities that respond to the medical, psychological, legal, transportation, educational and religious needs of each survivor who wants to take personal ownership in their recovery. In addition, Grounds of Grace works with legislative and human trafficking task forces and partners with individuals and organizations to secure judicial, legal, and legislative support to address the problem of trafficking on a systemic level.

The presenters will discuss the prevalence and varied forms of sex trafficking as well as the importance of recognizing traits that help identify victims.

The MFN program is open to the public. Because it is crucial that members of law enforcement, medical and mental health providers, and educators recognize and report possible cases of sex trafficking, they are particularly encouraged to attend.  For further information about the program, contact Melanie Rawlins at info@advancingcounseling.org. Dr. Rawlins, Professor Emerita and former chair of Western Illinois University’s Department of Counselor Education, will moderate the discussion.

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MFN Summer Social, July 24, City Hall, 4-5:30 p.m.

The Macomb Feminist Network will hold a Summer Social on Wednesday, July 24 in the Community Room of Macomb’s City Hall from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

We’ll include a quick review of our 2018-2019 programs and a brief preview of potential 2019-2020 programs. Our 2019-2020 year begins in September. 

Members, friends, and potential new members are welcome. Feel free to bring an hors d’oeuvre to share if you would like.

We hope you can join us!

2019 Writing Women Into History Honorees

The Macomb Feminist Network’s 2019 Writing Women into History Honorees

The Macomb Feminist Network has selected Winona Malpass, Belinda Carr, Susan Lawhorn, Essie Rutledge, and Patricia Walton for its 2019 Writing Women into History Awards. The women will be honored for their outstanding contributions to the local community on Saturday, March 2, during a reception at the Wesley Village Community Center. Following a light brunch at 10:00 a.m., honorees or a representative will tell their stories of activism and civic commitment.

This is the tenth year the award is being given. Each of the women being honored has been a positive role model and made a difference in the lives of others in Macomb and McDonough County. The women are:

Winona Malpass is being honored posthumously for her work as the person who initiated, and then coordinated, the first hospice program in Macomb, an invaluable service for families and individuals facing imminent death. Winona embraced the ideas Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross explored in On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy, and Their Own Families and volunteered to provide counseling at McDonough District Hospital to help patients and their families facing death. Her work as a volunteer, begun in the late 1970s, was so significant and so much appreciated by the many people she counselled, the hospital hired her to coordinate the hospice services she had organized. She also became an important resource and support for other county agencies, including the McDonough County Health Department, especially for the people they served through their Home Nursing and Community Care programs. She not only gave direct care through her counselling but worked to educate the community about hospice care and advocated for its acceptance. What Mr. Greg Case, Winona’s supervisor at MDH, remembers most about her is “the strong sense of empathy that she shared with her patients; . . . they truly loved and trusted her.” When she retired, a tribute fund was established in her name to help support programs she initiated.

Belinda Carr, a Western Illinois University (WIU) graduate, will be honored for her multiple contributions to WIU as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and to the larger community through her service on the Boards of the Housing Authority of McDonough County and of the Macomb Equal Opportunity and Fair Housing Commission, as well as the McDonough County Board and the Central Committee of the McDonough County Democrats. As a Board member of P.R.I.M.E. (Pride & Responsibility in My Environment), an organization that, for 20 years, provided educational options, recreational activities, and service opportunities for youth in an eight-week summer program, she partnered with WIU departments to provide workshops in a wide range of subjects, from biology to dietetics and fashion merchandising, from computer science to fire safety. As Director of the GBCC Belinda helped organize the annual Juneteenth Celebration in Macomb, a celebration of the end of slavery that brought people from throughout the region to Macomb to learn more about and enjoy African American culture. She was also a critical contributor to annual Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebrations, Soul Food Festivals, and countless other programs featuring scholars, artists, and activists. As Director of the GBCC she was central to the organization of these programs and, though she is a dynamic presenter, characteristically, she worked behind the scenes while giving students opportunities to develop and showcase their talents. Belinda took up the challenge of creating a welcoming environment for African American students through her work in the WIU and Macomb communities.

Susan Lawhorn is being recognized primarily for her many contributions to Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry initially organized 25 years ago by two churches but now supported by twelve congregations and serving over 400 households each month. A member of the Loaves and Fishes founding committee as well as the original—and current–boards, Susan has contributed to the success of Loaves and Fishes in numerous ways for all the years of its existence. She not only helped determine the structure of Loaves and Fishes, but has also consistently and graciously contributed to its day-to-day operations. She trains and coordinates the 30-40 volunteers who help the people who come to the pantry for food and emergency assistance each month; she prepares the monthly schedule of volunteers and fills in as needed if another volunteer has to cancel; she makes herself available via phone when volunteers have questions or need help identifying additional resources for clients; two months of the year she is one of the volunteers who interacts directly with pantry clients; she helps stock the pantry shelves and arranges for deliveries from food banks and local grocery stores. During her quarter century with Loaves and Fishes, Susan has been ready to do whatever is needed to keep the pantry open five days a week for people in need. As an artist, she has a long history of promoting art in the schools and more recently through the West Central Illinois Art Center.

Essie Rutledge, a Macomb Feminist Network member, has been contributing to Western Illinois University and the city of Macomb since she came to the university in 1976 to chair, and in many ways, to define the African American Studies Department. She is being honored primarily for her advocacy for equity and justice through her mentoring of individuals both on and off campus, and through her participation in organizations ranging from the Macomb Equal Opportunity and Fair Housing Commission to the Lions Club to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Western Illinois Regional Council. She helped complete the research that led to the creation of WIU’s Women’s Center, served on the Center’s Advisory Board, and participated in many of its programs. As a member of UPI, WIU’s faculty union, aware that women and people of color were often disadvantaged in salary and promotion negotiations–but without overlooking the needs of all university personnel,–Essie consistently looked out for the individuals in traditionally underrepresented groups. Though frequently facing opposition when she directs attention to the ways racism and sexism play out in the lives of people of color and women, Essie stands her ground, refusing to acquiesce when equity and justice are challenged. Because of her particular position in a world where whiteness carries privileges often not recognized by the very people who enjoy them, she has been willing to step forward and call attention to the inequity that often results.

Patricia Walton is being honored most specifically as a “defender and advocate for children’s rights.” As a general practice attorney, she focused on family, juvenile, and criminal law.  Since her 1994 appointment as an Associate Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, she has established the Drug Court, the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, and the Improvement Committee for Juvenile Court, all in McDonough County. The Drug Court offers adults a way to avoid jail time when found guilty of alcohol and drug related offenses. CASA provides a court appointed advocate for every abused or neglected child to assure s/he is not lost in the legal system or placed in a home that is inappropriate. Advocates stay with “their” child until a permanent placement is made. A licensed foster parent, Patricia has served as a temporary foster parent for children and assisted in the training of individuals seeking a foster care license. She has Advanced Certification from the Child Abuse and Neglect Institute, a program that promotes best practices for judges presiding over child abuse and dependency cases. She helped establish the Big Brothers Big Sisters in Bushnell, became the first Big Sister there, and in 2015 was named Big Sister of the Year for Warren and McDonough Counties. Her community service includes Past President of the Bushnell Rotary Club, Board member of McDonough County Habitat for Humanity, and member of the McDonough Bar Association, McDonough County Republicans, McDonough County Republican Women, and Macomb’s Women’s Club.

The public is invited to join MFN members in honoring this year’s award recipients at the Wesley Community Center between 10:00 a.m. and noon on March 2.

Information on previous honorees is available at the following website: https://macombfeminists.org/writing-women-into-history/.

Writing Women into History Award: Call for 2019 Nominations

The Macomb Feminist Network (MFN) is accepting nominations for its 2019 Writing Women into History Award.

The Award was established in 2010 to honor, promote, and expand our knowledge of the extraordinary contributions individual women have made in shaping and strengthening our local community.

Women eligible to be nominated for this award must meet the following criteria: a) have resided in McDonough County, 2) have been exceptional role models, and 3) through their initiatives, advocacy and/or engagement have made extraordinary contributions within the local community.

Any community member may submit a nomination by completing the nomination form. Self-nominations may be considered if accompanied by a letter of support. Nominations of women who have passed away will also be considered.

Past award recipients include: Wanda Black, Mary Ellen Graff, Rosa Julstrom, and Beth Stiffler (2010); Constance DeMuth Berg, Marcia Moll, and Ruth Parks (2011); Maria Dunstan, Judith Kohler, and Donna Werner (2012); Josephine Johnson, Elizabeth “Betty” Kaspar, and Janice Welsch (2013); Gordana Rezab, Mary Warnock, and Alice Swain (2014); Lois Ganyard, Suzan Nash, and Margaret Ovitt (2015); Alice Henry, Alta Sargent, and Peggy Scharfenberg (2016); Lorraine Epperson, Debbie Maquire, Pamella McLean, and Becky Parker (2017), and Sally Egler, Martha Klems, Maurine Magliocco, and Paula Wise (2018).

The 2019 recipients of the Award will be honored at a brunch reception hosted by the Macomb Feminist Network on Saturday March 2, 2018, from 10:00 am to noon at the Wesley Village Community Center.

WWIH 2019 Nomination Form (click to download Word document)

WWIH 2019 Nomination Form (click to download fillable PDF file)

Completed nomination forms and letters should be sent to Margaret Ovitt via email (Ovitt@macomb.com) or Macomb Feminist Network, P. O. Box 765, Macomb, IL 61455.  The deadline for nominations is Friday, November 30, 2018.

MFN Summer Social, July 26, City Hall, 4-5:30 p.m.

The Macomb Feminist Network will hold a Summer Social on Thursday, July 26 in the Community Room of Macomb’s City Hall from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

We’ll include a quick review of our 2017-2018 programs and a brief preview of potential 2018-2019 programs.

Our 2018-2019 year begins in September. We are changing the date of that first meeting from the second week of the month to the third week (September 15) to accommodate members involved in Art in the Park, the Friends of the Library Book Sale, and the Balloon Rally scheduled for the second Saturday.

Members, friends, and potential new members are welcome. Feel free to bring an hors d’oeuvre to share if you would like.

We hope you can join us!

2018 Writing Women Into History

2018 Writing Women

2018 Writing Women Into History Recipients

The Macomb Feminist Network has selected Sally Egler, Martha Klems, Maurine Magliocco, and Paula Wise to receive its 2018 Writing Women into History Award. The women will be honored at a Saturday, March 3, reception at the Wesley Village Community Center for their outstanding contributions to the local community.

The Macomb Feminist Network established the Writing Women into History Award because women have often been overlooked in history. Through the award, the Network seeks to expand public knowledge and appreciation of individual women whose initiatives, advocacy, and engagement have strengthened the local community in significant ways. This year’s recipients, like previous recipients, excel as role models and community leaders.

Sally Egler, beyond the impact she has had during her 20 years as a respected teacher at Macomb Public High School, has been particularly active in the League of Women Voters. A member for 25 years, she has served as the League’s Vice-President and as Chair of the Voters Service Committee and has been the principal organizer of the forums the League sponsors to introduce voters to candidates seeking local elected offices. Egler has also been a member of the Macomb Zoning Board of Appeals, a volunteer at the West Central Illinois Arts Center, a reader for Western Illinois University’s Radio Information Services, a member of the Community/ University Partnership Program (CUPP) and a founding member of the Macomb Feminist Network. She received a Quality of Life Award for her leadership in changing city zoning codes to protect single-family neighborhoods.

Marths Klems has been at the forefront of feminist and civic activism for decades. Since coming to Macomb to teach at Western Illinois University (WIU), she has been exceptionally active in the Western Organization for Women, University Women, the Women’s Center Advisory Board, the Macomb Feminist Reading Group, and the Macomb Feminist Network. Klems has also brought her activism to her service on the Macomb School Board (2003-2011), the McDonough County Democratic Party, the county’s Democratic Coalition, and Indivisible, a grassroots organization promoting progressive political action in local, state, and national government. As a negotiator for non-tenure-track faculty at WIU, she proved to be sharp, flexible, balanced, thorough and articulate, qualities consistently reflected in her activities, whether these are primarily civic or political.

Maurine Magliocco’s impact on Macomb and Western Illinois University revolves most vividly around her roles as the first Director of WIU Women’s Center, as President of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), and more comprehensively as an advocate for justice and equity. As Director of WIU’s Women’s Center, she had to secure space and staff before beginning the many programs that provided support for women on campus and in the community, including leadership and diversity workshops and initiatives to counter domestic violence and sexual assault. As President of UPI, Magliocco worked tirelessly with colleagues to strengthen the union’s effectiveness by focusing on shared, issue-defined goals. In these roles and as an advocate for multiple social justice issues she has followed a similar path: thorough study followed by action to impact decision makers and legislative outcomes.

Paula Wise, during her time at Western Illinois University, directed the school psychology program, developing it to meet state and national accreditation standards and prepare students for professional careers. Since her retirement, she has poured her energy into numerous endeavors within the community. She has shown exemplary skills in leadership as Co-chair of the Learning Is Forever (LIFE) program Curriculum Committee, as a member, then President, of the Friends of the Macomb Public Library Board, and as Chair of the Creative Elder Options Committee which revises and distributes free booklets with information on area resources for older adults. Wise has also served as program Chair/Co-chair of the Centennial Morning Rotary and is a reader for WIU’s Radio Information Service. An exceptional role model, she has spearheaded many efforts to meet the health, social, and intellectual needs of the community.

These women join the women who have been honored previously with the Writing Women into History Award: Wanda Black, Mary Ellen Graff, Rosa Julestrom, and Beth Stiffler (2010), Connie Berg, Marcia Moll, and Ruth Parks (2011), Maria Dunstan, Judith Kohler, and Donna Werner (21012), Josephine Johnson, Elizabeth Kaspar, and Janice Welsch (2013), Gordana Rezab, Alice Swain, and Mary Warnock (2014), Lois Ganyard, Margaret Ovitt, and Suzan Nash (2015), Alice Henry, Alta Sargent, and Peggy Scharfenburg (2016); and Lorraine Epperson, Debbie Maguire, Pamella McLean, and Rebecca “Becky” Parker (2017).

The public is invited to join MFN members in honoring this year’s award recipients at Wesley Village Community Center between 10:00 a.m. and noon, on March 3rd. Following a light brunch, honorees will tell their own stories of activism and civic commitment.

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