Embracing A Season of Change
A letter from our CEO

Happy Autumn, 
There are traditional symbolic meanings associated with autumn: Change, Preservation, Protection, and Balance, and these days we are experiencing or reaching for these constantly. We are in an unrelenting season of radical change. This isn’t yet another letter pleading that you vote. I know that if you are reading this you have already voted or made a plan to vote, are working to get out the vote (GOTV), and plan to vote YES for the Fair Tax amendment. Thank you for doing your part. 
This is an appeal for you to persevere! I speak with colleagues daily that are fighting to protect our democracy, to protect our right to self-agency, to protect all our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And, many are growing weary, exhausted from the daily attacks on our basic humanity. We are facing a system that didn’t intend itself to be faced. That was devised to serve the needs of a few and keep the rest of us in service along the margins. But the fight must and will go on no matter what, with or without your or me. 
You have to find balance to protect your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. Come November 4th (my birthday), no matter the result, we must be ready to continue the work of the season—radical change. The work to secure gender and racial equity and economic justice. The work to end health inequality, and suffering for children, women, and families. The work to secure the American promise for all its people. And, we need all of you healthy, invigorated, and ready to affirm that we will build a more just and fair society. 
So, take in the crisp autumn air. Take in the beautiful changes of the fall leaves. Read that book that takes you to a faraway imaginary place. Call a friend that makes you smile at the sound of their voice. Safely take that trip to have the mountains or ocean as your backdrop. Just, do what you need to recharge and refill your cup so that you can continue to pour into others and into the movement for equity and justice for all. 
Cherita Ellens, CEO
Join Us for These Exciting Upcoming Events
Half-Paid Heroes: Working Women, COVID-19, and #LatinaEqualPay Day
Despite the 50 years that have passed since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 became law, Latinas must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12. This year, October 29th represents the day when Latina pay catches up to what white, non-Hispanic men made by the end of 2019. This is the last "Equal Pay Day" observance of the year, which means that on average, Latinas must work longer than, well, pretty much everyone. This disparity not only hurts Latinas, but also the families and the communities they support and are a part of. Join us on October 29th for a virtual event with Chicago leaders on working women, COVID-19, and the racial and gender pay disparities that continue to exist in our country. 
Speakers include Illinois State Rep. Anna Moeller; Cherita Ellens, President and CEO of Women Employed; Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Linda Xóchitl Tortolero, President and CEO of Mujeres Latinas en Acción; Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza; and moderator Kelly Saulsberry, Director of Policy and Outreach for the City of Chicago, Commission on Human Relations. 
The event is free and will be livestreamed. RSVP to our Facebook event Half-Paid Heroes: Working Women, COVID-19, and #LatinaEqualPay Day

2020 Virtual Girls' Summit
Amid a global pandemic, an uncertain economic future, and our nation’s most heightened racial awareness since the civil rights movement, young womxn are refusing to stay silent. From planning peaceful protests to organizing community food drives, they continue to push the status quo. And the world needs to start listening. 
On October 31st, City Clerk Anna Valencia, Chicago Foundation for Women’s President & CEO Felicia Davis, and the Status of Women and Girls Working Group will host the 2020 Girls’ Summit. This free virtual summit will bring together young women, girls, trans, and gender non-binary individuals ages 13-24 from across Chicago to discuss the issues most important to them. Secure your spot today! 
13 Days Left in the 2020 Election
Nearly 8 million people have already voted in person and by mail. That is amazing! But we still have two weeks to go before Election Day, which means we still have time to encourage others to get out there and participate in democracy. In Illinois you can already cast your ballot either in person at an early voting location or by mail. But if you’ve already got your voting plan and want to encourage the others to make theirs, our Voter Mobilization Toolkit was made with you in mind! 
Know the Facts About the Fair Tax
This election season, Illinois voters have the opportunity to vote YES on a constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated income tax, known as the Fair Tax. There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about the Fair Tax and we want to make sure you have all the facts to help inform your choice! 

Check Out Our Fair Tax Myth Busters and vote YES this election season! 
Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Judge Amy Coney Barrett
The winner of the 2020 election should get to nominate Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court replacement and, with the election already underway in many states, that means the Senate must vote NO on Amy Coney Barrett. The Senate has already held confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett, and we expect them to vote Monday! Call your senators TODAY and insist they vote NO on Judge Amy Coney Barrett. 
Call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask for your senators, and tell them to vote NO. Don’t know who your senators are? Look them up here.
Essential People Deserve Essential Policies
The working people now considered essential have been at the heart of Women Employed’s mission since 1973. And our work this year to advance equity for all has also been essential. This year we made major advances in our work to pursue equity for all and we are excited to share the accomplishments that YOU helped us achieve!
Women Employed Has Much to be Grateful to Toni Henle for...
Toni first connected with Women Employed in 1995, when she met then-Executive Director Anne Ladky at the Chicago Job Council’s Welfare-to-Work Working Group, and Anne asked her to make a donation to the WE Walk-a-thon. Toni did, and that was the beginning of a long-lasting relationship. 
Toni’s interest in Women Employed was piqued when she attended a WE event. Toni remembers, “The audience was about one-quarter African-American women. It demonstrated conscious intent, and I decided if I ever left my job, I’d want to work at Women Employed.” 
When Toni did decide to make a career shift, she reconnected with Anne to ask for an informational interview, which turned into a job interview, and Toni was hired to lead WE’s Education and Training Policy at Women Employed. One of the things Toni is most proud of in her tenure at WE, is “building the ties with Adult Basic Education and technical programs at community colleges across the state, including the City Colleges of Chicago, that led to the implementation of bridge programs.” 
Toni’s work at Women Employed was the genesis of our Education and Training program, and that alone is plenty to be grateful for. But Toni and her husband John have also continued to support WE as Investors for Change and Founders of the Anne Ladky Leadership Fund.  
Recently, she made a gift through the required minimum distribution of her IRA, which she calls a win-win. “I get the satisfaction of supporting the important work of WE, and I get the tax incentive, too.” * 
Thank you, Toni, for your many contributions to Women Employed!  
If you are age 70½ or older and have an IRA, consider joining Toni by making a “win-win” gift. You can make charitable gifts, called qualified charitable distributions (QCDs), directly from your IRA using funds that might otherwise be taxed when withdrawn. It’s easy! Just direct your IRA custodian to send a check.  
Your distribution is not subject to tax and will be put to work to help us build a better economic future for all working women. 
To learn more about many ways to give to Women Employed, contact Linda Ballard at lballard@womenemployed.org or call 312-782-3902 x245. 
*Check with your tax advisor, as tax laws may have changed as a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that became law 3/27/20.  
Monthly Donors Spark Change Year Round 
Thank you to all of our monthly donors who have made sustaining gifts to Women Employed, ensuring we can take action to advance women’s economic status – crafting new strategies and collaborations, speaking out, and mobilizing others. Monthly giving is a simple but impactful way to support our efforts. Each month, your credit card is automatically charged, so you drive change without having to think about it. Monthly donors also receive WE swag (pictured below), so you can show off your support year-round! 
Navigating Your Student Loan Debt
This month, we paired up with Young Invincibles and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to inform Illinois student loan borrowers of repayment and relief options and the resources available to them. Thank you to Illinois Student Loan Ombudsman, Joseph Sanders, Senior Program Specialist Theresa Geary, both from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and everyone who attended this free webinar. 
If you need assistance with you student loans, we urge you visit the Illinois Attorney General’s Student Lending page for resources, including information about repayment  and an online form to file a complaint
Additionally, you may want to visit the Federal Student Aid page to look up your student loan status and other relevant federal financial aid information. 
Paid Sick Time

You know what’s scary? Nearly 1.5 million working people in Illinois lack the right to a single paid sick day. This spooky season, take a few minutes to contact your Illinois legislators and urge them to pass state-wide paid sick days so that workers can stay home without sacrificing their paycheck if they or their family members are sick. 
Know Your Rights

In this scary time, it is important for people to know their rights on the job in case you or a loved one gets sick with COVID-19. We have created tools to help working people navigate these protections. Download our fact sheet, available in English, Spanish, and Polish, to learn more about your workplace rights. 
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