Action Report: Illinois Women March on Springfield

 

 

By Caroline Gibbons

Report from the Front in Springfield

On April 25, 2000-plus activists joined the Illinois Women March on Springfield. I and Donna Gutman, another  CWTA activist, were part of the movement, traveling to Springfield on the bus sponsored by the Center on Halsted.

We’d done our homework in advance by submitting Witness Slips voicing our positions on bills before the Illinois legislature. (learn more about the beta of the Witness Slip tool here) Our work continued on the bus, where we reviewed lists of bills and filled in Pink Action Cards with the bill numbers we are advocating for (or against.) Later in the day, we delivered the Action Cards to the offices of our elected officials. Meanwhile, upon arriving in Springfield we met with the CWTA Merry Band of Drummers and our creative team, Layne Jackson and Janet Webber, who together had produced our colorful CWTA tee-shirts and bandanas. They are available from laynejackson@gmail.com.

Just about all of our Illinois legislators spoke at the rally. The timing was exciting because  as we were gathered under the statue of Abraham Lincoln, the House was simultaneously debating HB 40 the legislation that protects a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare in Illinois. Many issues were highlighted and it was particularly touching to those of us working on CWTA’s Gun Violence Prevention Committee, to hear SEIU’s, Jackie Algae (one of the four organizers of the event) share with us that her son had been killed as a result of gun violence.  A high point was the rally that erupted around the current Equal Rights Amendment Legislation. Congress passed the ERA in 1972 and thus far 37 states have ratified it out of 38 required to amend the constitution to expressly guarantee equality on the basis of sex. The current IL bill, SJRCA 4, proposes to ratify the ERA  making it the 28th Amendment. We need to make this happen.
Later, we learned that SB40 had passed in the House, without one Republican vote. And today April 27 — this  just in!