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2006 Unsung Heroines - Rogers Park Young Women's Action Team

Thursday, March 02, 2006
Special to suffredin.org

COOK COUNTY COMMISSION LARRY SUFFREDIN announces
The 13th District Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues 2006 Unsung Heroines

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin proudly announces that the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action team (YWAT) was honored as the 13th District’s 2006 Unsung Heroines.   YWAT was recognized by the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues on March 2, 2006 at the 11th Annual Cook County Unsung Heroines Awards Ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center.

The Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team is a youth-led, adult-supported social change project that empowers young women of color under 21 years old to take action on issues that affect their lives -- particularly issues of violence against girls and young women.  The YWAT believes that girls and young women should be free from violence.

Commissioner Suffredin first met the YWAT teen leaders when they shared the results of their comprehensive research about Street Harassment and Teen Dating Violence.  The organization began in 2003 under the sponsorship of the Between Friends Chicago.  The organization is now sponsored by the Rogers Park Community Action Council.  Copies of their research reports can be requested by emailing the Young Women’s Action Team at rpywat@hotmail.com .

The Commissioner recalls being impressed by the passionate will and organizing strategies displayed by the teen leaders as they reported to the community their research results.  Their focus on collective action, consciousness-raising, and community education needed to end violence against girls and young women was compelling. Commissioner Suffredin responded when challenged by the young women of YWAT and strongly supported their “R-E-S-P-E-C-T Campaign” during the spring/summer of 2004. Working in partnership with local elected officials, law enforcement and business leaders,  the group successfully advocated for better lighting on two main streets and conducted a educational/marketing campaign to raise awareness about the issue of street harassment in Rogers Park.   YWAT launched Teen Dating Violence Awareness Week - October 17-23rd 2005 - which was recognized with a proclamation from Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley. 

“What a powerful mission the YWAT is helping organize – a community free from violence.  It is my pleasure to invite you to join me as we salute the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team for the important contributions they make to the Rogers Park community”, stated Commissioner Suffredin.

The next project for the YWAT members is a Citywide Day of Action at Street Harassment on May 4.

YWAT Members:

Shauniece Armstead     Von Steuben High School
Shannon Bittner           Howard Area High School (graduate)
Renee Braggs               Lane Tech High School
Ronnett Lockett           Lane Tech High School
Lillian Matami               Lane Tech High School
Daphnee Rene              Sullivan High School
Jonnae Taylor              Prologue High School
Joyce Taylor               Truman College
Crystal Villaneuva         St. Scholastica
Emilya Whitis               Lane Tech High School

YWAT Joined by:
County Board President John Stroger
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin
Women's Commission President Peggy Montes
Women's Commissioner   Trina Janes



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