Announcing New Member Benefits

Our membership is growing!!! Thanks to your support, we are at 120 members just 11 months after becoming an organization. To celebrate, we’re announcing our new member benefits we’ll be offering to all our members!

Included with dues, members can join as many groups as they wish. We will have the following services/circles:

  • Allyship Book Club (via our Racial Justice Coalition)
  • Artists & Crafters Guild (Networking, support, and promotion)
  • Drum Circle (Meets monthly and on special occasions)
  • Fibre Arts Circle (ALL things fibre/sewing/crocheting/knitting)
  • Gardening Co-Op (Environmental Justice Coalition)
  • Home Improvement Co-Op (Environmental Justice Coalition)
  • Liberal Lunchers Weekly Brown Bag Discussion
  • Monthly Trauma Circle (Mental Health Task Force)
  • Pet-Sitting Co-Op
  • Quarterly Trauma Healing and Resilience Workshops (Mental Health Task Force)
  • Women’s Film Club

Next Christmas, let’s do better, together…

Right before Christmas, it was brought to our attention that the shelters had no offers of aid. We are IMMENSELY grateful for all the good people in both political parties (or none) who stepped up to help us get the shelter gifts and treats for all the residents. THANK YOU!!!

We will do an annual holiday gift drive for The Samaritan Well as one of our projects so this never happens again. What are we here for, if not to support one another? Any of us could experience housing insecurity/housing loss. We all have to ensure those who do experience such traumatic affronts to feelings of personal and familiar safety do not also suffer abandonment from the community as well.

This lack of attention to the needs of our most marginalized community members by our city also showed up in an absence of food bags for homes without financial privilege. Such an absence meant many families had no holiday dinner for their loved ones. Alas, due to the late discovery, we were unable to marshal the resources needed to get this need filled. This failure to care for our most vulnerable human family members should never happen again in this community.

We’ve written an OpEd about some remedies that can help our community do better in the future. We can, and we must. Read our OpEd here >>>>

Still Waiting For Our Written Response from City Hall

The Mayor said we’d receive a written response to our letter. So far, nothing. It’s been weeks.

We met with him and City Councilwoman Gayle Carper two weeks ago. Mayor Inman refused an offer to work with our Racial Justice Coalition, stating his preference for working with the Multicultural Center Staff at WIU.

WIU’s Multicultural Center staff is there to serve WIU students, and despite losing all but 1 director, is doing a great job.

But WE are community members representing OUR COMMUNITY. To refuse to work with our committee members shows Mayor Inman isn’t serious about actually addressing the racial challenges in this community.

The Democratic Party of McDonough County Responds

The McDonough County Democratic Central Committee has a letter to the editor today. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for ANYONE in the local Republican party to denounce racism.

Mayor Inman knows we want an anti-racist proclamation. His ongoing excuses and put-offs on this issue reveals much about the city leadership’s lack of commitment to standing up for racial justice in this community.

We greatly appreciate our Democratic Party’s response, as below:

Letter to Our Black/Latin/Hispanic/Native American/International Community Members

We believe you. We stand with you. We want to prove it.

This is the message that the McDonough County Democratic Party wishes to share with people of color in Macomb and McDonough County, in alignment with the national Democratic Party’s established commitment to stand up for racial justice and civil rights.

This letter is partially in response to the events of this spring’s “Fire Jack” campaign organized by a group of business owners targeting WIU President Thomas. But we also recognize that events like this are only flare ups in a long-simmering reality that lets people of color know they are simply not welcome in many spaces here.

Some individuals do not understand why this campaign was racist and why people of color are still hurting from that event. Too often, the reaction by well meaning white people to events that harm the black community is to “not raise a fuss” and “wait for it to blow over”.

Silence is itself an injustice. Dr. King notes the preference of the “white moderate” for “a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

Black people in the community have already gone to great lengths to explain why the actions taken by the campaign were racist, through many op-eds, blog posts and public speeches. To briefly summarize, the public shaming of a black man, in the town square, using only his first name stripped of all recognition of office and merit, by powerful, prominent white citizens, reminded may people of darker days, when black men were called “boy” to belittle them. Addressing Dr. Thomas as ‘Jack’ shows disrespect for him and the office, no matter how one feels about his performance as President.

This time, because of the voices of individuals in the black community and allied organizations, this issue was not quietly hidden away.

Mayor Inman and WIU Interim President Abraham have publicly acknowledged that racism exists in our community and have pledged to address this issue. So far, an attempt at a remedy has come in the form of the “non-violent communication” workshops led by Dr. J. Q. Adams. They are a necessary start to the conversation, and we look forward to achieving material gains in racial equality in Macomb and the county.

In seeking justice we will not allow continued offenses to blow over. Last month’s “Town and Gown” event, held in the venue where the campaign slogan was prominently displayed on their marquee, caused shock and disappointment among members of our committee involved in the recent forums on racial justice.

In continued solidarity, we stand behind the National Democratic Party Platform and the efforts of local organizations that are working to create a community committed to equality and justice for all of its residents.

The McDonough County Democratic Central Committee
Contact: Lee Trotter, President, McDonough County Democratic Party

Source: http://mcdonoughcountyvoice.il.newsmemory.com/?publink=143f5f116&fbclid=IwAR1IVPq1jFLeq4lOJGJAtXsmYnfmuCOtuwyB-8kaFKE5Apf9vCQDPt2iVMI

Update on our Press Conference

The Macomb Chief of Police (like the McDonough County Sheriff) has apparently learned how to evade public awareness & accountability…they just refuse to talk to our journalists on the record.

That kind of disrespect for the public they are sworn to serve and protect, combined with a lack of transparency, is how we got to where we are in this community.

Show some guts, guys, or step down if you aren’t up to the job of taking journalist’s questions. That’s a basic function of the job. Leaders of police departments have NO RIGHT to deprive the public of their responses to journalist’s questions about your own job performance and actions while representing us taxpayers. We don’t know why these Republican leaders think they are above basic accountability and transparency.

As for Mayor Inman, we have a meeting tomorrow with the Mayor and City Councilwoman Gayle Carper.

Despite our request for her to be included, Macomb’s first Black Woman Alderwoman-at-Large was excluded from both the meeting tomorrow, and whatever they are planning to show us. This continuing marginalization of Alderwoman Tammie Leigh Brown-Edward’s voice deprives us of her expertise, perspective, and cultural input.

We sincerely hope Mayor Inman will stop excluding Alderwoman Brown-Edwards from such important discussions in the future. Keeping our one Black elected city official out of the meetings and discussions for the remedies for our city’s challenges isn’t ok. Nor is listing her presence at the “Community Conversations” in an official response to the paper instead of asking her for her actual thoughts and statement.

It’s as if they sought to imply that her mere presence at the Community Conversations legitimized them – without soliciting and allowing her opinion about them to be heard and inform our dialog. This appears to be yet more convenient optics, instead of real racial justice in action. This is unconscionable given our city’s racial challenges.

We’ve posted another affidavit about community members trying to get Macomb Police Chief Barker’s attention on his department’s issues with race, class, and lack of cultural competency, from 2016. We’ll keep posting them as needed so the public can see all the many years community members have been trying to get our city leadership’s attention to these issues, without any measurable progress.

Our First Press Conference…

…was held, and we released our first White Paper. [Link has been updated.]

We hadn’t heard back anything yet from our letter to the Mayor and City council, until 2:30 the afternoon after the press conference.

Our response to the white women who seem more concerned with #TonePolicing us, rather than with holding power accountable for their repeated failures to address the racism and anti-LGBT issues here:

McDonough County Republican Party Refuses to Denounce Racism

We’ve still received no response to our call to the Republican Party to distance themselves from the racism. …and the racism is continuing to get worse in our community. Their silence is consent, and given how the racism in this community is harming our black citizens, students, and visitors, is morally indefensible.

” Here, in McDonough County, we have two requests of the McDonough County Republican Party: publicly condemn the racist and xenophobic images and rhetoric shared by their state party, and pledge to distance themselves from the racist and divisive rhetoric from Mr. Trump,” said Heather McMeekan, President of the Democratic Women of McDonough County. “We urge the leaders from the McDonough County Republican Party to contact our local news media to issue a statement, or to contact me directly…” Source: https://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/opinion/20190729/democratic-women-of-mcdonough-county-respond-to-meme-of-congresswomen-posted-by-illinois-republican-county-chairs-association

#twill #BlackLivesMatter #ICYMI

https://www.mcdonoughvoice.com/opinion/20190729/democratic-women-of-mcdonough-county-respond-to-meme-of-congresswomen-posted-by-illinois-republican-county-chairs-association

Letter Follow-up

This is a copy of the email President Heather McMeekan sent to the Macomb Mayor, Mike Inman, and the members of the Macomb City Council, as well as several others.
_________________________________________________________

Dear Mayor Inman & Macomb City Council Members,

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Council last night. I greatly appreciate being given a few extra minutes to finish reading the letter.

Attached is the letter I read to the City Council last night. It references the Chronicle of Higher Education article at https://www.chronicle.com/interactiv…/20191101-Western-Race…

Also attached to this email is the affadavit from Joanne Curtis, read by our 2nd V.P. Verna Parkins last night.

Some examples of city council proclamations we reviewed in preparing our letter include:

Sample Proclamations Resource: https://www.niot.org/c…/action-kit/sample-city-proclamations

A resource we’ve found helpful to our members and leadership team: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide: https://www.splcenter.org/…/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-r…

We appreciate your service to our city and consideration for our requests, and look forward to receiving your response.

Respectfully Submitted,

Heather McMeekan, President
Democratic Women of McDonough County

An Urgent Call To The Mayor & Our City Leadership…

We just posted this urgent letter in response to the article in last week’s Chronicle of Higher Education about our community. First, we affirm the veracity of the information. We call on our community members to report those who mistreat members of our community to the Macomb Police Department. Please, especially report all acts of racism and bigotry to the Macomb Police.

To those who have expressed fear or mistrust in the Macomb Police Department Leadership and some officers, we have heard your concerns. Our letter contains a list of actions to begin addressing the lack of confidence and trust in our police department, promote a greater balance of checks and balances, transparency, and multiple avenues of communication.

Read it, and weep for our community’s Black, Latin, and Hispanic students and community members who deserve to live here in safety and equality of opportunity and protection under the law.

Celebrating 100 Members

When we began this journey, it was just our founder and a handful of her friends. Now, a little over 8 months later, our organization just added it’s 100th member…and we’re just getting started!

We’d like to give a #ShoutOut to our friends in Fulton County, Illinois, who recently launched their own “Democratic Women of Fulton County, Illinois” group and Facebook page. Congratulations!!!

We’re beginning organizing for next year’s #MacombPridefest event. If you’d like to be on our planning committee, let us know! Send us an email at info@democratic-women.org.