Our annual summer social was enjoyed by well over 30 individuals as they visited, reconnected, and heard a review of the past year activities along with a preview of programing for the upcoming year.
The Macomb Feminist Network has selected Gayle Tronvig Carper, Nancy Crossman, Verneata Jones and Jill Joline Myers as recipients of its 2022 Writing Women into History Awards. The women will be honored for their outstanding contributions to the local community on Saturday, March 5, during a reception at the Wesley Village Community Center.
Gayle TronvigCarper has woven her background and training as an attorney, public defender,
and WIU professor into the activities she has pursued as a civic-minded Macomb resident. Her
approach to the roles and tasks she assumes is consistently meticulous. Whether she was
serving on the City Council (first appointed, then elected), writing a commentary for Tri-States
Public Radio’s Women’s Voices, or helping establish an organization to help ensure food
security for residents in need, her approach has reflected scrupulous research and an
exceptionally coherent presentation of information and insight. She has co-chaired the annual
Gazebo Art Festival and the Macomb Art Center’s Art and Gift Market multiple times, taking
responsibility for much of the events’ organization and publicity. Gayle’s contributions to
Macomb’s civic and cultural life attest to her strength and integrity as well as her extraordinary
energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to a healthy, viable community.
Nancy “Nan” Crossman has been helping ensure a diverse and lively arts scene in Macomb for
many years. Whether serving on the Performing Art Society Board, facilitating Macomb
Community Theater productions, or coordinating the multiple activities sponsored by the
Macomb Arts Center, Nan has been generously giving her time to make sure these ventures
attract audiences and help both spectators and contributors enjoy the talent of the many artists
in the community. The wide spectrum of activities she organizes and manages through the
Macomb Arts Center as its volunteer Executive Director bear out her commitment. She
facilitates events and projects that clearly appeal to children, from tikes to teens, others that
appeal to adults, and still others that bring in entire families. She has taken on the nitty-gritty
behind-the-scenes roles that event planning requires as well as the role of host forprograms,
receptions, and exhibits. She has consistently done so with grace.
Verneata D. Jones is well known and respected in the Macomb community. She has helped
organize and implement many programs and events sponsored by her church and various
community organizations, including P.R.I.D.E. a summer youth program that emphasized
education, recreation, and service, a summer food distribution initiative, and Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. and Juneteenth celebrations. Widely and comfortably known as Aunt V in the
community, what is perhaps most remarkable about her service is what she has been doing on
her own year after year. She has provided foster care, often on an emergency basis, for over 27
children, always making sure those she cared for had what they needed materially, emotionally,
and educationally. She reaches out to people with ease, discerns their needs, and quietly finds
ways to help. Skilledand caring, she has enriched the lives of numerous people in the
community through her love and generosity.
Jill Joline Myers, using her doctoral studies in law, first in Baltimore and then in Macomb–has
spent much of her career working on behalf of victims and society. She began by representing
abused and neglected children; later she represented victims of violence and terrorism. She
continues to focus on the well-being and safety of children, no longer as a prosecutor or
investigator, but as the President of the Macomb CUSD #185, helping to develop policies that
determine how Macomb schools prepare students for a successful future. Given students’
widespread access to the internet, Jill’s background in electronic surveillance and cyber
investigations has been particularly valuable in addressing online bullying and in promoting
cyber safety and digital citizenship training. She serves on the board of the local chapter of the
League of Women Voters, is a member of the Macomb Fire and Police Commission, and is
President-elect of the morning Rotary Club. Her commitment to the community runs deep.
Annette Carper, Deputy Director of the Housing Authority of McDonough County, will discuss the mission of the Housing Authority, its scope and activities, as well as her role as Deputy Director at the Macomb Feminist Network meeting on Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m. at Macomb City Hall.
Saturday, September 4, 2021, 10 a.m. at Macomb City Hall, newly appointed Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones will discuss his approach to policing, his goals, and his plans to achieve these goals. He will also discuss police-community relations and ways these can be strengthened in a positive way. The public is invited. A short business meeting will follow the presentation.
After a year of zooming, MFN met in person Saturday May 1 at Gayle Carper’s. The meeting, chaired by Martha Klems, focused on identifying local feminists who could be viable candidates for local offices or boards. To support these individuals, MFN will be creating a list of members who have served on boards or political offices to serve as mentors and offering potential candidates special skills training in areas such as public speaking, campaigning, leadership, etc. based on the expertise of current members. MFN is renewing its commitment to finding and encouraging feminists to seek positions of influence.
The GFWC Macomb’s Woman’s Club, the League of Women Voters of McDonough County, the Macomb Feminist Network, and the Western Illinois Museum announce
A Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment
Wednesday, August 26, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.
In Chandler Park
A Centennial Celebration of the 19th Amendment is being planned by local organizations, including the GFWC Macomb’s Woman’s Club, the League of Women Voters of McDonough County, the Macomb Feminist Network, and the Western Illinois Museum. The 19th Amendment was passed in August of 1920 and gave women in the United States the right to vote. To mark the anniversary, a program will be held in Chandler Park, in Macomb, Illinois, on Wednesday, August 26th at 5:00 pm. The public is invited to attend; face coverings and social distancing will be observed. Following at 7:00 pm will be a live online program on Facebook.
At 7:00 pm, an online program will be held live on Facebook where the commentaries will be broadcast followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion. The live stream can be found on a special Facebook page for the event at 19th Amendment Celebration Macomb, IL.
The gathering in Chandler Park to celebrate the anniversary will start at 5:00 pm at the Gazebo with short commentaries by local women. Each will speak briefly on the impact the 19th Amendment has had on our country and our community. Speakers include Jane Ellickson Coplan, President of the League of Women Voters of McDonough County; Brenda Allison, President of the GFWC Macomb’s Woman’s Club; Tammie Leigh Brown Edwards, Macomb City Alderwoman; Julia Albarricin, Western Illinois University Professor of Political Science; Sue Scott, Director of the Western Illinois Museum; Gayle Carper; Macomb City Alderwomen. Additional online speakers include Kim Rice and Maren McIlvaine Newsad, Macomb High School graduate and student at Denison University. In the tradition of the suffragettes, guests are encouraged to wear white and participate in a brief parade around the park following the remarks.
On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote –36 being the number of states needed to make it a federal law. The nearly 73-year suffrage movement was begun at the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It was signed into law on August 26th, when United States Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed his certification that all conditions required for ratification had been met. The Amendment states, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Chandler Park is located one block north of Macomb’s Courthouse Square. Free street parking is available. Guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs, wear masks, and practice social distancing. For more information contact the Western Illinois Museum at call 309.837.2750, text 309.837.2613, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2019 Writing Women Into History Award was given to 5 very deserving women: Susan Lawhorn, Belinda Carr, Patricia Walton, Essie Rutledge, and posthumously Winona Malpass.
The Macomb Feminist Network’s 2020 Writing Women into History Honorees
The Macomb Feminist Network has selected Janine Cavicchia, Patricia Jones, Lois Lueck, and Sue Scott for its 2020 Writing Women into History Awards. The women will be honored for their outstanding contributions to the local community on Saturday, March 7, 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.
Through this 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.
Janine Cavicchia, retired Director of Western Illinois University’s Women’s Center, has lived in Macomb since 1985 and worked in residence life prior to her 18 years in the Women’s Center. As Director, Janine initiated and supported numerous programs, activities and organizations that brought the campus and community together, including: bringing in feminist speakers and performers; coordinating National Girls and Women in Sports Day, Take Our Daughters to Work Day, Women’s Equality Day, and Jane Addams Day activities; organizing Women’s History, Breast and Ovarian Cancer Awareness, and Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness Month events; and sponsoring Women’s Center teams in the McDonough County Girls Softball League and a children’s feminist book club. She collaborated with Western Illinois Regional Council’s (WIRC) Victim Services agency and campus and community partners to continue the Take Back the Night March and Rally she helped inaugurate while in residence life. In 2001 Janine brought the V-Day International Campaign to WIU. For 19 years, this initiative has raised awareness of and funds for interpersonal violence prevention and survivor support services at WIU and in surrounding communities. She has been a Board member of the League of Women Voters of McDonough County, McDonough County United Way, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, and the Macomb Feminist Network. She has volunteered with the Quad-County Coalition Against Sexual Assault Hotline and was recently appointed to Macomb’s Equal Opportunity and Fair Housing Commission. Janine’s tireless advocacy for equity and inclusion coupled with her knowledge and organizational skills have benefited community members throughout our area.
Patricia I. Jones, roots run deep in McDonough County, having lived in Macomb since 1979. She has devoted a significant portion of her life to fostering cross-cultural understanding, and has received local and national attention for her expertise in this area. She has always found time to be involved in community initiatives that improve the lives of those with whom she associates. Patti began her long commitment to international students while pursuing her MA in College Student Personnel at Western Illinois University. Her first position as an employee at WIU was as a Western English as a Second Language instructor and the Foreign Student Advisor. When she moved to other positions within the university and incorporated grant-writing into her repertoire of interests and responsibilities, she consistently integrated an awareness of, commitment to, and support for cross-cultural interaction among WIU students and the Macomb community. In 2008 Patti retired and immediately jumped into public service, taking on the presidency of the WIU Chapter of the State University Annuitants Association and volunteer work in many national, state, and local organizations, including the Wesley Village Foundation Board, the WIU Library Advisory Board, the Fire Pension Board, the Learning Is Forever (LIFE) Curriculum Committee and the Interfaith Alliance of Macomb. Patti’s international involvement has allowed her to learn the best ways to communicate cross culturally and to share this information locally. She has served as a trusted and dependable friend, mentor, and advocate for members of the international community and as an exceptional role model within the larger Macomb community.
Lois Lueck, came to Macomb in 1969 with her husband and three children. She quickly became a forceful champion for many individuals and families, including a Cambodian refugee family. In addition to other support, she participated in rehabbing a house for the family. When group homes for persons with developmental disabilities were proposed in Macomb, she enthusiastically attended hearings in support of their establishment while opponents actively worked against them. Later, when Habitat for Humanity was introduced to the area, she served on the Family Nurturing Committee. A current commitment showing her concern for families is as a volunteer with Baby Talk, a program that provides new mothers with support and free books for infants born in McDonough District Hospital. This program links her interest in the welfare of children and families with her commitment to literacy. Books for babies is only a tiny part of what Lois has done to support literacy. She and her late husband Lowell, established the Lueck Reading Fund to provide the WIU Curriculum Center with books on special needs and cultural diversity to be used by teachers as instructional materials. She and Lowell, having experienced the challenges of rearing a family while completing degrees, also funded a scholarship for non-traditional students majoring in education. In addition to her position as Guidance Director at the Colchester High School for 19 years, Lois tutored GED students at Spoon River College for over 20 years. Her ongoing interest in area history is reflected in her many years on the Western Illinois Museum Board where she served as president and secretary and continues as a volunteer for multiple events.
Sue Scott has served as Curator of the Western Illinois Museum eleven years, initiating a multitude of new projects and collaborations with various Macomb institutions, such as the Macomb Food Coop, Western Illinois University’s Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, WIU’s Building Trades Program, and the Macomb Women’s Club. Her contributions to the museum encompass renovations to the building itself, including the installation of more climate friendly windows and insulation and the construction of a “front porch” that serves as a stage for many of the talks, oral history presentations, readings, concerts, and theater pieces scheduled at the museum. Beyond cooperative projects with other organizations and improvements to the physical space, Sue has significantly increased the number and variety of programs and exhibits offered by the museum, emphasizing multi-sensory and interdisciplinary approaches. Many of these programs focus primarily on adults, including the Blind Swine speakeasys that revisit prohibition era themes. Others, like the Haunted History Tours, General Macomb’s Birthday Party, the Broadside Mural Project, and Letters to Santa, bring families to the museum. To support the programming, the building renovation, and the collaborations, Sue has successfully integrated fundraising and grant-writing into her schedule. As stated in her nomination letter, “Sue, as role model and advocate, as well as designer of projects, programs and events, has demonstrated her commitment to building community and providing historical context that is informative, fun, and inclusive.” Her background in project design and art has served her exceptionally well in these roles.
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 7.
Information on previous honorees is available at the following website: https://macombfeminists.org/writing-women-into-history/.
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 email@example.com. Dr. Rawlins, Professor Emerita and former chair of Western Illinois University’s Department of Counselor Education, will moderate the discussion.
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/.