Second Annual Civic Engagement,Community Service and Community Organizing (CECSCO) Awards

On March 4th, 2010, Gender and Women’s Studies will honor three outstanding women in Chicago during the second annual Civic Engagement, Community Service and Community Organizing (CECSCO) Awards Ceremony.


Barbara Engel has been an activist in the area of violence against women and girls for thirty-five years. She was an early pioneer of the anti-rape and domestic violence movements and was the director of a rape crisis center, battered women’s program and child sexual abuse treatment and advocacy center for eleven years. She initiated counseling and healing work with survivors, created the first sexual assault prevention programs for the Chicago public schools, while challenging institutional responses by law enforcement, the courts, and the medical and mental health systems. She co-authored protocols for the treatment of rape survivors and battered women in hospital emergency rooms and developed a protocol for Chicago police department response to rape survivors that is now promulgated as a national model. (more)

Achy Obejas is the author of Ruins (Akashic 2009,, Days of Awe (Random House, 2001) and Aguas & Otros Cuentos (Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2009), among several books. A former staff writer for the Chicago Tribune, she frequently contributes to the Washington Post, In These Times and She is the editor and translator, into English, of Havana Noir (Akashic 2007), a collection of crime stories set in Havana, and translated Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead 2008) into Spanish. Her translation into English of Ena Lucía Portela’s One Hundred Bottles is forthcoming from the University of Texas Press in 2010. (more)

Aurie Pennick is the Executive Director and Treasurer of the Field Foundation of Illinois, Inc., with responsibility for the oversight of approximately sixty million dollars in foundation assets. Ms. Pennick is an attorney with an extensive background in the nonprofit and public sector. Prior to her return to philanthropy she practiced law and served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations in the region. From 1992 to 2002, Ms. Pennick was the president and CEO of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, the only fair housing organization in the nation founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From 1987 to 1992, Ms. Pennick was the Managing Attorney – Administration for the Chicago Transit Authority’s Legal Department. Before which she was the Assistant Director for Special Grants with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation where she designed and implemented a multi-million dollar grant program for small and emerging community organizations. She began her career in philanthropy at the Chicago Community Trust as a fellow in the Trust’s Minority Fellowship Program. (more)


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