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ZCJA's First International Women's Day Panel

On Friday, March 8, 2024, the Zonta Club of the Joliet Area held its first International Women’s Day Panel. We met with a slate of experts and tackled the tough topics: bullying, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Over roughly two hours, we talked about the legal, social, and psychological effects of each of these topics. We took questions from the audience and each of the panelists found connections with what they did as individuals within their organizations, and what they did together for the community. More than fifty community members including students from the local Joliet high schools joined us.

The panel consisted of the following women.

SHERRIE BLACKBURN:

Deputy Chief of the Joliet Police Department’s Administrations Division. She’s been with JPD for approximately 24 years. Before becoming the first female Deputy Chief, she achieved the rank of Sergeant and Lieutenant. Throughout Deputy Chief Blackburn’s career, she served in specialized units in the department, building her expertise.

KATE EDRINN:

As the Communications Manager for Zonta International, Kate finds innovative and traditional ways to promote the mission of Zonta, which includes expanding education for women and girls, ending gender-based violence, and eliminating child marriage. She also helps communicate the benefits of being part of the global Zonta International community. She has been a member of Zonta for 11 years.

ZOE FISCHER:

Lead Preventionist in the Sexual Assault Service Center (SASC), a program at Guardian Angel Community Services. She currently works to prevent sexual violence by educating the community on topics including sexual abuse, rape culture, systems of privilege and oppression, trauma, bullying, body safety, and building healthy relationships. As Lead Preventionist, she’s helped expand prevention education services and improve outreach to underserved populations, including those incarcerated, those who are Spanish-speaking, and LGBTQIA+ survivors.

SEN. MEG LOUGHRAN CAPPEL:

Represents Illinois’ 49th District, including communities in Will and Kendall Counties. She joined the Illinois Senate in December 2020. Prior to serving in the Illinois Senate, she was a special education teacher and continues to dedicate her work to being a voice for children.

DR. CASSANDRA MA:

Founder and Executive Director of Reclaim13, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing healing services to survivors of sexual abuse, trafficking, and exploitation. Reclaim13 began in 2012. Dr. Ma and Reclaim13 have been recognized by the Office of the U.S. Attorneys for the Northern District of Illinois for their work with victims of child sex trafficking.

BETTY MAJOR-ROSE:

An ordained minister, author, and founder of Parents Against Gangs and the Family Trauma Advocacy Program. Its primary objective is to aid homicide survivors and guide families toward a healthy recovery. In 2022, she published her book, “Shattered But Not Broken,” an intimate guide through her own journeys, with clear-eyed advice and open-hearted support for those who’ve also been impacted by life-altering losses.

TRICIA McKENNA:

Chief of Complaints for the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office. She has been an Assistant State’s Attorney since 2006 and presently supervises felony charging decisions, narcotics, organized crime, and a homicide review team. She has tried numerous cases involving violence against women, including homicides.    

And our moderator, BONNIE WINFREY:

Dr. Bonnie Winfrey is the CEO of Kailen & Kyler Enterprises. She is a media and public relations executive, marketing consultant, a freelance newspaper reporter, and an award-winning producer/director. As a communication and media strategist, she coaches individuals and businesses on how to build their brand and perfect their presence in the business and media world. She was also honored to be chosen as a three-time judge for the Emmys. She is the current president of the Zonta Club of the Joliet Area.




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