Featured guests former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, actress and comedienne Julia Sweeney talked about the importance of advocating for reproductive justice
CHICAGO — Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) honored generations of supporters at its first-ever Generations: A Celebration of Healthy Families gala tonight at the Chicago History Museum.
Nearly 400 supporters, including influential Chicago leaders such as: Hedy Ratner, co-founder and co-president of the Women’s Business Development Center; Terry Savage, nationally-known personal finance expert and Chicago Sun-Times columnist; and Sara Paretsky, best-selling author, attended the event to celebrate how each generation approached the fight for reproductive justice and what Planned Parenthood is doing today for future generations.
“Planned Parenthood has served millions of women across the nation for more than 90 years. In fact, 1 in 5 women has obtained services from a Planned Parenthood health center in her lifetime,” said Carole Brite, PPIL President and CEO. “Our collective mission – which we renew tonight – is to make sure that nothing stands in the way of women receiving the health care that they need and deserve.”
Actress and Comedienne Julia Sweeney – who was on the cast of Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1994, and was in movies such as, “It’s Pat” and “Beethoven’s 3rd” – delivered a monologue about sex education. Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders gave a powerful speech about how her generation fought for the reproductive freedoms we enjoy today, yet the battle still rages on.
“We have come a long way to ensure access to comprehensive health care for all women in America,” said Dr. Elders, distinguished professor at the Clinton School of Public Policy. “However, conservative extremists across the country have launched the most aggressive assault on women’s health care in American history. It is now more critical than ever to stand strong to protect the rights we fought so hard to achieve.”
Christina Santiago, Programming Manager at the Lesbian Community Cancer Project (LCCP) at Howard Brown Health Center and a self-identified Puerto Rican lesbian, feminist, activist, was honored with the Margaret Wiley Carr Bright Horizons Award. The award honors the next generation of influential activists in the reproductive rights movement.
Guests also joined in honoring Peggy A. Carr and her son Terry Carr with a tribute video. Peggy Carr was inspired to advocate for women’s health by her mother who supported Planned Parenthood when it was in its infancy. Peggy, now in her 90s, has passed the torch to her son Terry, who has been on the PPIL board for almost 30 years.
The event was successful in raising $300,000 to benefit PPIL’s mission and services. More than 90 percent of PPIL’s services are preventive including: lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing and counseling, birth control services, and more. For more information about PPIL visit www.ppil.org.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) provides affordably-priced, high-quality reproductive health care services to women and families throughout Illinois. Through health care services, educational programs and advocacy efforts, PPIL works to ensure and protect the reproductive rights of each individual. For more information, visit www.ppil.org.