My Labor-Day Week, Jane Addams-Birthday Week Rule for Girl Radicals

Dear Readers,

Forgotten Contributions: Women in Illinois History, an early project of mine, was a traveling exhibit that toured during the Bicenntennial.

Fortunately for the history we told, the exhibit traveled throughout the state, beginning at the federal building in downtown Chicago, and including a showing at the Illinois State Fair. As you might imagine, this was all definitely “a first.”

Along the way, the exhibit garnered a lot of publicity.

Fortunately for us young historians, working hard to make the case for the importance of women’s leadership in America’s great historical episodes, a woman by the name of Hannah Shapiro Glick made herself known to us, after she read one of these newspaper stories.

At this link, to the wonderful online magazine, Chicago History Journal, you can read Hannah’s heroic story, as I recounted it back-in-the-day. Along with the story, there are some great pictures, and a good reading list, including a children’s book about Hannah, for those budding feminists in your family.

Thanks to Sharon Williams, the Journal’s founder and editor, for re-publishing this piece.

Have a great Chicago women’s labor history week.


Carol Marin asks: “Why aren’t women running for office?”

Good afternoon, readers.

On this day, the National Day of Action (to prevent Stupak), when America’s women are in one of the biggest political battles of the last 50 years: battling to prevent the Stupak Amendment from becoming law, think about where we might be, instead, if more women were in high political office.

Would there be such misogynist legislation taken seriously, approached with such respect, from the White House on down, if women held office in greater numbers?

I don’t think so, even though I don’t believe that women are “purer” or “better” than men–one of the main reasons my hero, Jane Addams, gave for the need for women to be active in the “public sphere.”

Carol Marin takes a look at the reasons for the dearth of women in high (elected, political) places, in her column in today’s Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s the link:,CST-EDT-Carol02.article.

Carol concludes by saying: “…it’s up to us women to take the risk. And run.” Hear, hear. Yes, yes.

Check-out Carol’s column. And when you’re done, if you haven’t already, go to :, to find out how you can lobby Congress today.


“SiveSiftings: Rebecca Sive Talks Back,” by Rebecca Sive

Welcome to “SiveSiftings: Rebecca Sive Talks Back.”

SiveSiftings will highlight significant organizing opportunities and policy changes, big ideas, innovative strategies, and tactics and connections that can advance equality and social justice.

SiveSiftings will cover the views of opinion leaders, the actions of technology inventors and public officials, and the grass-roots activities of community organizers and neighborhood leaders.

SiveSiftings will come in the form of musings, strongly-worded opinions, interviews with thought leaders and public figures, to-do lists, manifestos and action proposals.

This is the second edition of SiveSiftings. I first wrote SiveSiftings for my high school newspaper. At that time, I was motivated to share my thoughts about the matter of race, just as I will in this second edition.

Several years before I started writing that high-school column, I had started taking the New York subway. Diversity and differences of all kinds were all around me. I found that I was endlessly curious about the communities my fellow and sister subway-riders came from, were going-to, the kinds of lives they lived, the opportunities they had, and, most of all, about what the other girls on the subway thought lay ahead for them.

The news of that subway-riding and revolutionary era–news from Mississippi and Alabama, Newark, Detroit and Chicago–put my subway-riding observations in a larger context. I realized there were sky-high–and subway-tunnel deep–impediments to equality for too many in the crowds of subway-riders around me. And so I moved to Chicago and started a lifetime’s work of community organizing and social justice advocacy.

Today, at another time of great American revolution, I write SiveSiftings again because, once again, faint hearts and meek actions won’t suffice. Once again, we must look, listen, learn, and then act courageously and forcefully.

I write from Chicago, where I’ve been inspired by Dr. King, Saul Alinsky, Jane Addams and many others; where there is still so much to learn, and still so much to do, even though we have inspired our gifted new President.

I hope you’ll take a look at my Blogroll and Resources list, subscribe to SiveSiftings, and e-mail me about topics I should discuss and people I should interview. And do tell me what’s on your social-change to-do list. I’m confident we can figure this out together.

Rebecca Sive