The Chicago Foundation for Women ( CFW ) virtually held the 2020 Impact Awards on July 23. CFW President/CEO Felicia Davis hosted the event and awarded the honorees.
Davis began by explaining the importance of the Impact Awards: They uplift the good work of the awardees and acknowledge the changes happening because of their influence.
Wendy Pollack, who started the Women's Law and Policy Initiative at the Shriver Center, won the founders award. She gave a summary of her background and work that she's done for the Chicago women's carpenters, which became Chicago Women in Trades. She also spoke about her career in law, specifically litigation, and how she continuously works to improve federal and state laws and policies.
The Pioneer Award went to Christina Frasik, who spoke about her reason for co-founding Students for Reproductive Justice ( SRJ ), which addresses limited interpretations of healthcare at Loyola University.
"I would also like to acknowledge that reproductive justice is not optional, but a requirement of any work in the reproductive healthcare space," said Frasik. "Without this framework founded by Black and low-income individuals, your sole focus would lie with the erosion of access to abortion and contraception in the [United States]."
Neha Gill spoke about winning the Impact Award for her work toward gender equality at Apna Ghar, a human rights outreach organization. "I urge us all today to take very intentional steps toward gender injustice by examining the inequalities all around us in every sphere," said Gill.
Collette Payne spoke next upon winning the Impact Award for her work at the Visible Voices program for Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers ( CLAIM ) and her work at Cabrini-Green Legal Aid. She spoke about how her own experience with incarceration inspired her to become an advocate for change.
Imani Rupert-Gordon received the Impact Award for her past role as the executive director Affinity Community Services, which facilitates resources for LGBTQ+ individuals. Rupert-Gordon, who now heads the National Center for Lesbian Rights, spoke about how the criminal-justice system disproportionately affects Black and queer people, and how it needs to be examined.
"We need to be critical of the people that benefit from these systems, not from the people who are marginalized by them," said Rupert-Gordon.
Christian Snow received the Reverend Willie Taplin Barrow Emerging Leaders Award on behalf of Assata's Daughter; that organization's work that has helped Black women and girls in Chicago regarding environmental and political advocacy.
The event ended with discussions about how the award winners' works have changed because of COVID-19, how their efforts have shifted because of the current social movement and how domestic violence has increased because of quarantining.