On occasion, our social justice awards selection committee faces a dilemma. We receive a nomination outlining contributions that span so many years and have made such a significant impact on our community that a standard award doesn’t seem adequate. That happened this year in the case of one nomination, and so we are pleased to present Esther Patt a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Patt has been an active participant in social justice issues in local and state arenas since 1973 when she arrived at the U of I as an undergraduate and began working at the U of I Tenant Union: her avocation and career ever since that time. She was also one of the original members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Chapter in CU where she variously served in many roles, including chair of the Reproductive Rights Task Force, Newsletter Editor, and President. As a leader in the chapter, Patt helped organize events and, importantly, provided logical, effective arguments to raise the consciousness of both conservatives and progressives regarding the economic and social benefits of the Equal Rights Amendment and the importance of protecting women’s reproductive rights.
Another long-running focus of Patt’s activism has been to encourage voting in local, state and national campaigns and promote issues relevant to women and others who historically had few protections. She has actively participated in every election in Champaign for over 45 years: tirelessly working to get students and the disenfranchised registered to vote, to provide greater access to convenient polling locations, and to get out the vote.
Join us on April 29 at 7 p.m. for a virtual celebration. Registration is free, but advance registration is required.