Women Employed is moving! Please make note. As of July 1st, our new address will be:
1 E Wacker Drive, Suite 3110, Chicago, IL 60601.
Happy Summer and Happy PRIDE Month!

Pride month is an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQIA+ people and the community’s history and culture, but the LGBTQIA+ community needs more than rainbow logos and flags. To commit to the work that needs to be done to establish full justice and equity for all, LGBTQIA+ people also need policies and practices that respect their dignity and safety in all areas of life. 
As a policy advocacy organization, WE have a significant opportunity—and responsibility—to create workplaces in which all people can thrive and achieve their full professional potential. One of our greatest victories was working in coalition to secure paid sick time ordinances in Chicago and suburban Cook County, which went into effect in July of 2017. Both the Chicago and Cook County ordinances have a broad “family member” definition that allows workers to use sick time to care for a chosen family member—anyone whose “close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship”—in addition to those related by blood. To ensure people in Chicago and Cook County know their right to earn and use paid sick time, WE partnered with Pride Action Tank so LGBTQIA+ folks know they can care for their chosen family. 
Yesterday was LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day, a time to bring attention to the fact that LGBTQIA+ people are more likely to live in poverty than are cisgender and heterosexual people with the same characteristics. We cannot and will not achieve pay equity until the people most marginalized are paid a full, fair, and equitable wage. As gay liberation activist, Marsha P. Johnson, once said, there is “no pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” 

This Pride month, take action by joining us in the fight for a full and fair wage.

Black History is American History: Celebrating Juneteenth

This weekend, the Women Employed staff is pausing to commemorate and celebrate Juneteenth—the first year WE are observing this historic day as a paid holiday. The history of this important day evidences the ways in which freedom for Black people has continuously been delayed and taken away, and it’s also a day to honor Black resistance and center Black people’s fight for justice and liberation. Check out this list of Juneteenth events taking place in Chicago throughout the weekend!
Thank You for Making The Working Lunch Great
On behalf of the whole Women Employed team, thank you for supporting and celebrating with us a few weeks ago at The Working Lunch – Virtual Edition. Even though we weren’t together in person, WE could feel the energy of the more than 600 people who joined us as we heard the inspiring message of keynote speaker Congresswoman Lauren Underwood; honored theIllinois Legislative Black Caucus,SEIU Healthcare IL IN MO KS, and The Pattis Family Foundation; and heard some impactful words from our special guest, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. All of these leaders have dedicated their lives to championing economic equity and are unwavering in their commitment to ensuring fundamental and systemic change at all levels.
Our President and CEO Cherita Ellens also unveiled our bold new strategic plan aimed at closing the wealth gap at the intersection of race and gender. Stay tuned for more details about how we will mobilize our time and resources to make this transformational vision a reality! 

We want to thank our sponsors, listed at the end of this newsletter, for their generous support of this year’s luncheon, which fuels our work to build the economic power of women. 
Meet Our 2021 Summer Leaders
Every summer, Women Employed welcomes ten promising leaders into The Pattis Family Foundation Summer Leadership Program, a paid internship that introduces participants to the ins and outs of the non-profit world while providing the opportunity for leadership training, professional skill building, front-line research, and more. 
The program provides a unique opportunity for professional skill building and practical experience through leadership training, front-line research, career exploration, and project work that gives participants insights into the realities of low-paid work and the intersections of racial and gender bias.  
We are ecstatic to welcome our 2021 cohort of interns! 
Emily Cheng – Kalamazoo College, Class of 2023 
Carolyn Dickey – Loyola University Chicago, Class of 2022 
Guetzemany Guardado – Saint Mary’s College, Class of 2023 
Lark Lux – Harry S Truman College, Class of 2021 
Katie Martinez – University of Illinois at Chicago, Class of 2021 
Abigail Quaye – Harry S Truman College, Class of 2022 
Priscilla Ramos Rico – The College of Wooster, Class of 2021 
Irma Sierra – Albion College, Class of 2022 
Sophia Simmons – Loyola University Chicago, Class of 2022 
Vanessa Villareal – Gettysburg College, Class of 2022 

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this amazing group of women. Want to learn more about the program and how it’s building the next generation of leaders? Check out our video! 

Join Us at the Adult College Success Council Meeting 

We invite you to join us for a moderated panel discussion with members of Women Employed’s Summer Leadership Program, generously sponsored by The Pattis Family Foundation. The interns will share their experiences and perspectives as current and recent college students. 
To receive a Zoom link for the June 23rd meeting, please register here.
Illinois Legislative Wins 

Join us in celebrating some major recent victories for Illinois students that were the direct result of tireless (virtual) advocacy from you, our partners, our legislative champions, and the Women Employed team. 
WE helped pass the Student Parent Data Collection bill (SB 267), which requires Illinois public colleges and universities to collect information about student parents to better understand their needs. This is an important first step in supporting student parents who are predominantly women and face unique challenges in their pursuit of a degree. 
WE helped pass the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding Act (SB 815), which establishes a statewide commission for Illinois public universities that will explore a formula to more equitably distribute funds across Illinois’ universities and the racially and economically diverse students they serve. This, along with an increase of $28 million for the Monetary Award Program (MAP), are important steps in beginning to address racial equity gaps in Illinois higher education
Addressing the Crisis Facing Illinois’ Black Students 

In the wake of a 29% drop in enrollment of Black students in Illinois' higher education system since 2013, documented by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, over 40 cross-sector leaders from throughout the state—convened by Chicago State University and including Women Employed!—created an Action Plan for addressing the crisis facing Illinois’ education and employment sectors.  

To tackle the challenges that face Illinois’ Black students, and to ensure a diverse and robust workforce, a partnership of multi-sector stakeholders came together to knock down barriers and address policies deeply rooted in racism. The Equity Working Group has identified critical actions needed to close equity gaps and enable Black students, families, and communities to thrive and survive in Illinois. These actions are detailed in the Equity Working Group for Black Student Access and Success in Illinois Higher Education” Action Plan.
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