Last night, I had the honor of joining 600 other community members from many Northshore communities to celebrate the Evanston/Northshore YWCA. The YW is such an asset to our communities, especially because of the work it does in supporting women and children who are victims of domestic violence. I know from personal experience that the YWCA crisis intervention counselors go above and beyond to meet women where they are and work with them towards safety and independence.
I personally took a friend of mine to the YWCA and Cook County courthouse to get an order of protection and relocate her children - children who had witnessed violence in the home. She only realized how destructive this violence was for them when it began to affect their behavior at school. I celebrate this friend for her bravery in getting out of this difficult situation, and I celebrate both the school social worker who identified the issue while providing amazing wrap-around supports to her children and the YWCA workers for helping us get immediate relief.
Local agencies like the YWCA are vital to the health of our communities. I know this because I know what it was like for my own mother to find the courage to leave my abusive father while pregnant with me, at a time when no such organizations existed. She was emotionally and financially dependent on my father, and for many years rationalized his abuse because at least he was not doing it to others. When the abuse continued after she became pregnant, she could tolerate it no longer. She left my father and moved to another city to free herself from his reach. I'll never know how difficult that act of bravery was - especially because she had no family or organizations like the YW to walk alongside her. She was broke, homeless and entirely alone. Thank you to the YWCA for ensuring that young women like my mother are no longer alone as they seek safety for their children and themselves.
Thank you to Karen Singer for her unwavering leadership and the many women and men who made the event possible and continue to light a path for women. I look forward to taking my personal experience and being a voice for women caught in this same cycle to Springfield.