On November 13th, 2018 Women and Girls CAN host the first Collective Healing and Action Gathering at their office space at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.
The gathering was well attended and the art project was very engaging and successful in creating a safe space for the youth and adult allies to engage in.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of the day was that during the skill share in which the Sisters Empowering Sisters provided a workshop on STIs there was a lot of conversation and cross training by the youth in an effort to make the information the Sisters were providing more accessible and inclusive.
This organic teaching and learning process that naturally evolved between the youth and adult allies is the exactly the type of leadership development and information sharing these gatherings are intending to provide. Overall the first gathering was considered a great success. Thanks to all who attended.
Alexandra Pates, student at Kenwood Academy High School; FUFA member
Yunuen Rodriguez, student at Beloit College; FUFAration member
Ann Russo, Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies, DePaul University
Aparna Sharma, Program Officer, Chicago Foundation for Women; Core Member, South Asian Progressive Action Collective (SAPAC); Alumni Advisory Board member, Leadership Center for Asian Pacific Americans
Keisha Farmer-Smith, Manager of Girlworld at Alternatives Inc.; board member, Chicago Freedom School; doctoral candidate University of Illinois College of Urban Plannning
The Women & Girls Collective Action Network is a center for consciousness-raising, training, dialogue and action around issues that matter to women and girls. We strengthen connections across communities to promote collective action. We provide resources and support to create safe spaces for girls and women to develop as leaders, learn from one another, and take action to promote social justice.
NEW! When Girls Get a Chance. Learn about our Status of Girls in Illinois 2009 ReportStatus of Girls News Release (PDF)
These are our guiding principles:
We acknowledge and respect women’s and girls’ multiple identities.
We believe that women and girls can learn from one another, and strive to provide the space for this to happen.
We recognize the connection among the many issues that women and girls face.
We are committed to identifying areas of shared history and experiences among women and girls.
We believe that connecting across differences allows us to learn from one another and build bridges to challenge stereotypes about women and girls in society.
We are committed to redefining organizing, to better reflect women’s lived experiences and multiple identities.
We are committed to building, and participating in, a movement for social justice.
We strive to make society a safe environment for women and girls.
We believe in community-wide accountability and are committed to partnering with men who are allies in our work.
Safety is a process, not an assumption
Women and Girls Collective Action Network has played a critical role in the Chicago community over the last five years. It has been a place of growth and transformation for hundreds of girls and young women between the ages of 11 and 26. They have helped shape the political landscape for girls and youth organizations with a vision that combines individual transformation and self care with social activism.
Currently we have four programs in the WGCAN cluster:
Females United for Action (FUFA) which focuses on healing, consciousness raising, and transformative social change
Sisters Empowering Sisters (SES) which focuses on building leadership of teen girls particularly in the area of reproductive justice and health
The Writers Circle focuses on creative expression using language as a tool for communicating across generation, for healing, and for sharing our lives that we will be expanding the number of Writers Circles and diversifying the kinds of writing to include journalistic writing, poetry and proposal writing, as well as the ongoing group focusing on fiction and memoir writing.
Coalition of Thought Leaders is a group of girls programs committed to radical work with girls, conducting cross trainings and learning to eradicate barriers among girls, and developing standards for girls programs.