Vol. 3, No. 11
September  2015
Never Too Late
WWHP is presenting a play about Ethel Percy Andrus, the founder of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). An interview with Marsha Katz (MK) who initiated the project follows.
Who is Ethel Percy Andrus?

MK: She is the founder of the National Retired Teachers Association and AARP. She founded both of these organizations after she retired from being a principal in the California Public School System.

What made you think of doing a presentation about her?

MK: I volunteer for AARP. At the orientation they told the story of Ethel and a particular story moved me.

While volunteering with the California Retired Teachers Association, Ethel learned that an older woman needed food, eyeglasses and dentures. Ethel proceeded to the address she'd been given, but the woman was not at that address. Upon further inquiry,  she was told to go to the back. In the back was a chicken coop. The woman was living there because her pension was insufficient to pay for housing. 

First, Dr. Andrus got mad; then she got organized. She felt the need to have retirement programs and health insurance for retired teachers. Soon after, she realized that not only teachers but most retired people would benefit from this and she founded the AARP.

Later, when I was asked to join the Executive Council of AARP and I was introducing myself, I started talking about WWHP. It just hit me that AARP and WWHP had a common bond in Ethel. At the WWHP board meeting, I suggested Ethel's story be our next project. Then I spoke to AARP about supporting our project. Both groups were very enthusiastic.

Is this an original play?

MK: Yes, the playwright is M.T. Cozzola. She researched the story and wrote the play. She was helped by Lily Liu, the retired archivist for AARP who has spent much time researching and talking about Ethel Percy Andrus. Lily Liu graciously shared her insights with M.T. In addition, we're looking forward to hearing Lily Liu who is coming to Chicago to participate in the panel following the play.

We're also excited that the grandniece and grandnephew of Ethel Percy Andrus, along with other of their relatives, will be attending the event on October 22nd at the Irish American Heritage Center.
Ethel Percy

Andrus. Ethel Percy Andrus. A remarkable woman.

We invite you to an afternoon in which you learn more about Ethel Percy Andrus and the issues she fought for.

Saturday, October 22, 2016, 2:00 - 4:30 pm

Irish American Heritage Center
4626 N. Knox, Chicago 60630
with ample free parking

Cost: $40 ($35 for AARP members)
To get the flyer and buy tickets, go to wwhpchicago.org

Catered appetizers, desserts, tea & coffee
with a meet and greet

An original play
by M.T. Cozzola

Never Too Late: A Glimpse into the Life and Legacy of Ethel Percy Andrus

Lily Liu, retired archivist of AARP,
an authority on Dr. Andrus
Arlene Crandall, executive director,
Retired Teachers Association of Chicago
Ann Marie Cunningham, Fair Economy Illinois, affiliated with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus

A Review of Equal Means Equal
by Sue Straus
After 7 years of working on her documentary, Kamala Lopez's film, Equal Means Equal saw fruition with viewings in 20 cities. WWHP co-sponsored Chicago's screening on August 26, Women's Rights Day: the date in 1920 that U.S. women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Our venue in Chicago, the Logan Theater, was sold out.

Alice Paul and other suffragette leaders saw voting rights as only one item on the road to equality; they started the fight to get women legally acknowledged equality under the Constitution with ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA has yet to be ratified. Equal Means Equal centers its argument around the importance of the ERA and its relevance today.
The film begins with the first European settlers in America, and the history of how women were legally property of male relatives or their husband -- women could not own property, vote, or sit in the jury box.

The film goes on to feature an interview with the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia. He remarks that women's rights are not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and nor did he believe they needed to be. " You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, then we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws."

He does not address the strength of a Constitutional amendment over a law. Laws are easily overturned -- Constitutional amendments are not.

The film creates an intersectional web of the many issues women face; pregnancy discrimination in hiring, rape, domestic violence, reproductive and other health issues, wage inequality, poverty, and more. The center of this web is the argument that there is no federal legal protection for discrimination against women, and if the ERA existed, these issues would be far easier to address.
The film also calls attention to failings of the U.S. Government. The U.S. is one of six nations that has not passed CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty adopted by the U.N. in 1979 . The United States is also behind industrialized countries (Greece, Belarus, Poland, Kuwait, Japan, Israel, and many others) in mortality rates of mothers and children, legally required paid maternity and paternity leave, and free or subsidized child care. While it is considered critical to have at least 30% of the federal legislative body be female, the U.S. falls below with 19.4%.

Feedback on the film was overwhelmingly positive, or people were just overwhelmed with the massive amount of information it presented. The key message was that the equal rights of women must be a part of the United States Constitution.
African American Women's
Equal Pay Day -- August 23rd
Joi Chaney, Executive Director of the Equal Pay Today! Campaign--A Project of the Tides Center.
August 23rd was the day this year when African American women's earnings caught up to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. It is the day that acknowledges that Black women receive only 63 cents on the dollar to white men. This is less than white women, who make 78 cents on the dollar.

According to the National Women's Law Center "
A black woman starting her career today (and working full-time, year round) will lose an average of $877,480 over her 40-year career, relative to a white man." This illustrates another level of complexity in the fight for equal pay, and underscores the need for legal protection for women through legislation such as the ERA.

Upcoming Events
Beyond Rosie the Riveter: Women and Work
An exhibition at the Koehnline Museum of Art
This year's exhibition explores the vital role women have played at work,
in supporting their families, their communities, the world.
Where: Oakton Community College, 1600 East Golf Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016
When: September 29 - October 21, 2016
               Museum Hours: M - F 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sat. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Panel: What a Feminist Looks Like
Presented by: Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League

" Feminism strikes a chord of dissidence, confusion empowerment and pride among women today. How can one movement mean such vastly different things to different people. Join the MetroBoard and our esteemed group of panelists as we unpack the meaning of feminism in our everyday lives and the role it plays in society today."
Panelists Include:
  • Danielle Stanley -- Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
  • Natalie Howse -- President of the Cook County Bar Assoc
  • Adrienne Irmer -- Legislative Coordinator for Cook County Board Pres. Toni Preckwinkle
  • Tamara Winfrey Harris -- Author, Blogger, Nationally Syndicated TV Analyst on the topics of Race, Feminism and Black Culture
  • Anna Valencia -- Director of the Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs, City of Chicago
  • Donna Black Miller -- Marketing Healthcare Consultant, Board Chair Planned Parenthood Illinois Action Committee, 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rules Committee, Vice-President Illinois Democratic Women
Where: Gary Comer College Prep, 7131 S. South Chicago Avenue, Chicago
When : October 18, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (CDT)
Price : Free
For more information and tickets, click here: 
Roxane Gay
Presented by Indiana Voices of Women, Purdue Black Cultural Center, Purdue LGBTQ Center

Roxane Gay is an American feminist writer, professor, editor and commentator. She is an associate professor of English at Purdue University, contributing op-ed writer at The New York Times, founder of Tiney Hardcore Press, essays editor for The Rumpus, and co-editor of PANK, a nonprofit literary arts collective.

Ms. Gay will speak on the intersectionality of gender, race, and sexuality. Following the lecture will be a Q & A and book signing. Bring your favorite Roxane Gay book for signing.

Where : Ivy Tech Community College Auditorium, 3101 South Creasy Lane, Lafayette, IN
When: October 20, 2016, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Price : Free
For more information and tickets, click here: 
Grizzly Mama
Rivendell Theatre

"Deb is a divorced suburban mom who re-imagines herself as a righteous, liberal avenger following the death of her activist mother. Her daughter, Hannah, is a typical texting teenager - that is, until she discovers the real reason why mom moved them next door to a certain Alaskan presidential candidate. A dark comedy about motherhood, murder and moose."

: Rivendell Theatre:  5775 N. Ridge Avenue, Chicago
When : Thursday-Sundays until Oct 15, 2016
Price : $32 adult, $22 student/senior/military/veteran
For more information and tickets, click here: 

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