We said back in January of this year that 2020 was a tumultuous year in terms of people’s health and in terms of our politics. Fast forward, our nation saw the attack on our capitol on January 6th that shook the foundations of our democracy. And women again marched in our ongoing fight for equal rights and to determine our reproductive healthcare.

During the year, the status of women at the beginning of our nation was presented to our readers in a historical timeline, showcasing the significant role in reform movements, antislavery, religious and moral reform causes that gained rights for everyone. These women include such noted figures as Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth from the early 1900s. They spoke and led reforms for African Americans and helped to obtain voting for all women. The 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 during a time when Alice Paul organized hunger strikes and picketed the White House leading to a 7-month workhouse prison sentence.

KCDW highlighted the mid 1900s with those who fought tirelessly on behalf of immigrants and the agricultural workers. Workers rights, civil rights, and women’s rights centered key figures like Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez in a cause for justice, pitting them against the elites and forcing a change for better wages and working conditions in California. These actions educated immigrants and showed them that their votes counted and could influence legislators.

The feminist movement in the 60’s and 70’s arose against this backdrop, causing women to demonstrate and march throughout our states and cities. Their demands include birth control and reproductive rights for women. Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman who was elected to Congress, and she ran for the democratic ticket against George McGovern, even though she was defeated.

We celebrated the only woman who ran for president of the U.S. – Hilary Clinton – a major party nominee. Her credentials included: first lady of the U.S., secretary of state under President Obama and U.S. Senator of New York. She created a “million cracks” in the political ceiling even though she was defeated by Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, and her efforts paved the way for the first female vice president – Kamala Harris, the first black and Asian to hold this title.

Locally, 11 of the 17 candidates we supported won their campaigns in the 2020 elections. These included KCDW president Corinne Pierog, Theresa Barreiro, Maura Kirschauer, Cristina Castro, Karina Villa and Lauren Underwood. And we celebrated the win of Carolyn Bird-Salazar for North Aurora Trustee and applauded her victory in April.

As the pandemic laid siege and took young and old alike, we mourned lives lost in our Kane County community. The early days of the year brought about a frantic search for vaccines with people spending hours trying to sign up and waiting in long lines to receive the vaccine.

The year brings stress and sadness for some of our family members and friends. For a few of our friends, it was the first holiday without their loved one present. Corinne Pierog lost her husband, Bob; Colette Ainsley lost her husband, Rich; and Carolyn Bird Salazar lost her father. There are other members who are ill and some who are awaiting surgery. You may want to reach out to them and let them know they are in your thoughts.

We take this opportunity to thank each member for their support, and to our subscribers who follow our “Women Past and Present” newsletter. The New Year opens many possibilities to get involved with our organization where you can shape the outcome of the November elections. We will be voting in new leadership with the election of officers on January 22, 2022. Come join a great group of women (and a few men).