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Jane Addams Day/Gay Day

An interesting conjunction of events -a nationwide protest against California’s recent vote against gay marriage falling on Jane Addams day, December 10, the state holiday marking the date that Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Gay rights advocates including the Gay Liberation Network protest at the Cook County Marriage License Bureau, 118 N. Clark, at 11 a.m.; Mirian Wright Edelman of Children’s Defense Fund speaks at the Jane Addams Hull House Museum, 800 S. Halsted, at 4 p.m.

Historians debate whether Addams had a lesbian relationship or a “romantic friendship” with her companion Mary Rozet Smith; talking to Newstips in 2006, when the state holiday was inaugurated, Addams Museum director Lisa Yun Lee said Addams and her colleagues at Hull House “redefined domestic space and intimate relationships” in ways that supported women as public actors.

As Lee pointed out, Addams’ work is incredibly relevant to today’s struggles — she led efforts for labor organization and immigrant rights and against war, while experimenting with domestic politics, providing sex education for youth and advocating for legalizing birth control.

A civil rights activist and attorney in the South in the 1960s, Edelman founded the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973. She’ll be reading from her new book, The Sea Is Wide and My Boat Is So Small, described as “a series of letters to a variety of audiences—educators, faith leaders, youth, mothers, elected officials and concerned citizens nationwide—that reflect on the social and economic progress as well as the setbacks since [Martin Luther] King’s death 40 years ago.”

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Category: authors, children, history, LGBT, museums

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