Vol. 2, No. 5
May 2015


Estelle Griswold's Legacy

June 7, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that contraceptive use was lawful for married women as part of the constitutional right to privacy. The decision had far-reaching effects on further decisions regarding human rights and reproductive freedom. But who exactly was Estelle Griswold-the woman at the forefront of the case?


Griswold was born Estelle Trebert in Hartford, Connecticut in 1900. She studied music as a young woman but later found employment as a medical technologist in Washington, D.C., where she moved with her husband in 1927. In the 1940s, she became involved in worldwide charitable organizations including the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association, where she witnessed the effects of poverty firsthand. She became convinced that contraception was essential to preventing human misery around the world.


When she returned to the United States, Griswold joined the Planned Parenthood League. Soon, she was promoted to Executive Director. At the time, a woman in Connecticut could not purchase birth control or even request information about contraceptives from a pharmacist. In order to bring the issue to court, Griswold and Dr. C. Lee Buxton, Medical Director of the Planned Parenthood Center, opened a birth control clinic where they dispersed contraceptives. They were quickly arrested and convicted of violating Connecticut's anti-contraception laws. Griswold took the opportunity to appeal the case, citing the fourteenth amendment. The ensuing series of trials produced the landmark decision that would mark Griswold's legacy.





WWHP Meets Handle with Care

Arleen Prairie, Araida Palacios, Carmen Macias, Jackie Kirley.

At the 2 pm performance on May 9, 2015, fifteen young actors from Lookingglass' Young Ensemble performed Handle with Care, a play about child care, and successfully portrayed the children who attended a child care center, the parents who brought them there, and the teachers who cared for them at the center. The actors were convincing enough that a 12-year-old could play the older brother of a cranky toddler, played by a 17-year-old, and both were believable to the audience. Tracy Walsh, Lookingglass Ensemble Member, together with the members of the Young Ensemble and Associate Director Sophie Weisskoff, wrote the play and then directed it. The play was partially inspired by the interviews collected by WWHP. Handle with Care was by turns funny and touching and it brought out some important issues around the topic of child care.


The post-performance discussion, led by Michael Rohd, artistic director of Lookingglass' Civic Practice Lab, first addressed the processes the young actors had undergone to put on the play. Later, Michael Rohd led WWHP members and their guests in a discussion of additional issues that Tracy should be aware of as she writes future plays using WWHP interviews and of audiences and venues where those plays could be performed. The audience that day included two interviewees, both owners of home child cares and both SEIU activists; two higher level staff members from the Ounce of Prevention Fund; and a vice president from Illinois Action for Children. All contributed to the discussion.


With the benefit of Lookingglass' artistic creations, based on WWHP interviews, WWHP hopes to make the public, early childhood and community leaders aware of the importance of quality, affordable child care to Chicago's working class and augment discussions on needed improvements in child care -- improvements for the practitioners, the parents, and, of course, for the children.


-WWHP President Jacqueline Kirley




Child Care and Home Care Workers Rally in Springfield

On May 21, child care and home care workers gathered in the state capital to protest Governor Rauner's many proposals that threaten their livelihoods. Rauner wishes to take health coverage, union protections, and training away from the 50,000 healthcare workers in Illinois. These decisions will not only affect workers, but also the many people who depend on them. Child care workers already only made $4.59 an hour in 2013, according to state statistics.


To learn more, visit the SEIU Healthcare website at http://www.seiuhcilin.org.




An Update on the Mother Jones Museum

WWHP is proud to announce that it donated nearly $7,000 from April's fundraiser to the Mother Jones Museum in Mt. Olive, Illinois. On June 21, there will be a kick-off event to open the museum, complete with small exhibits and a call to the community to contribute artifacts and personal stories about Mother Jones to the museum.


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