2020 Writing Women Into History Honorees

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/.

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