How is the League involved?

Ida B. Wells campaign press conference

In the wake of the Charlottesville confrontation and ensuing demands for the removal of offensive monuments, a number of aldermen in Chicago began to call for the removal of tributes commemorating the fascist warlord Italo Balbo. Annie Logue, President of the League of Women Voters of Chicago, proposed that Balbo Drive be renamed after Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

In late 2017, LWV Chicago members reached out to members of Wells’ family for their input. With consent of the family, the LWV Chicago South Side unit formed a working group to take the campaign on.

The group then gained the support of Aldermen Sophia King and Brendan Reilly, whose wards each contain Balbo Drive, and more than 50 other civic organizations signed on with their support as the project progressed (see list below).

On Wednesday, May 23, 2018, Aldermen King and Reilly proposed the ordinance to rename Balbo Drive to Ida B. Wells Drive. First, it needed to be passed out of the Transportation and Public Ways Committee before it could go to the City Council for a full vote. The ordinance was placed on the Committee's agenda for their meeting in late June, only to be pulled from the agenda just days before the meeting. 

The League jumped into action, but opposition from the Italian-American to renaming Balbo Drive had swayed some aldermen against the campaign. However, many were still in favor of honoring Ida B. Wells with a downtown street, and Congress Parkway was chosen to be renamed instead.

On July 19, the Transportation Committee voted unanimously to rename Congress Parkway for Ida B. Wells, and the full City Council voted to approve the measure on July 26, 2018. 

Interested how a campaign like this comes to be? Get the full story here. 

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We would like to thank the 50+ organizations who have joined LWV Chicago in our efforts to effect this change: 

  • Access Living – Chicago
  • ACLU of Illinois
  • Action for a Better Tomorrow
  • Action Now
  • American Association of University Women, Chicago Branch
  • Black Girls Break Bread
  • Black Metropolis Research Consortium
  • Cause the Effect – Chicago
  • Center for Neighborhood Technology
  • Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
  • Chicago Appleseed
  • Chicago Books to Women in Prison
  • Chicago Chapter of the National Organization for Women
  • Chicago Council of Lawyers
  • Chicago Democracy Project
  • Chicago Foundation for Women
  • Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
  • Chicago Neighborhood Alliance
  • Chicago Teachers Union Black Caucus - AFT
  • Chicago Urban League
  • Chicago Votes
  • Chicago Women Take Action
  • Chicago Women's History Center
  • Collaboraction
  • Community Renewal Society
  • Cook County Bar Association
  • Crossroads Fund
  • Edgewater Action
  • Equal Pay Day Chicago
  • Freedom Road Socialist Organization
  • GAP Community Organization
  • Gary Comer Youth Center
  • Gather Activism
  • Her Story Theater
  • Ida's Legacy
  • Illinois Council against Handgun Violence
  • Illinois Council on Women and Girls
  • Indivisible Illinois
  • Instituto del Progreso Latino
  • Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • Ladies of Virtue
  • League of Women Voters of Chicago
  • March for Our Lives Chicago
  • Monumental Women Project
  • NAACP - Chicago Southside
  • New Founders
  • Planned Parenthood of Illinois
  • Sierra Club Chicago Group
  • Rainbow Push
  • United Sciences of Chicago
  • Unlock the Block
  • Vivian G. Harsh Society
  • Women and Children First Bookstore
  • Women Employed
  • Women’s March Chicago
  • Working Women’s History Project
  • Young Urban Progressives

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