Area women energized by Women’s Convention in Detroit

By Adela Crandell Durkee For Chronicle Media

Ruth Scifo (center) is a graduate from Loyola with political science degree. She served 12 years on the District 47 School Board.

Three local women are still in the after-glow of the Women’s Convention they attended Oct. 29 in Detroit, Mich.

“When I think of America First, I think I want to be there first,” said Buffy Brasile from Woodstock. “On the size and the scale that we [Americans] are, we can set a precedence for the world.”

“We need to mobilize locally to get things done,” chimed in Crystal Lake resident, Ruth Scifo.

Brasile and Scifo, along with Cathy Johnson attended the convention.

Scifo, originally from Chicago, raised her two grown children in Crystal Lake. They still live and work there. She’s an office manager for a structural engineering firm in Deerfield and a freelance bookkeeper.

Johnson is a Marengo resident who retired from teaching at Riley Elementary.

Brasile, 35, is a hairstylist and small business adviser. A Woodstock native, she’s happy to keep her roots connected to the community she in which she grew up.

Decades apart in age, the three women bonded in their love of country and community. Scifo is a graduate from Loyola with political science degree. She served 12 years on the District 47 School Board.

“There’s an awakening for women in particular because we wear so many hats,” she said. “We’re working, raising children, running a household, and many of us are caring for aging parents.”

Because of her background, Scifo thinks she may have a better understanding of how government works.

Brasile, on the other hand, said she’s been building toward more community involvement through her work as a small business adviser. She’s running for McHenry County Board, District 6.

Although Brasile, Scifo and Johnson are Democrats, the Women’s Convention went beyond politics to include activists across a wide spectrum.

“People are fed up with government,” said Brasile. “Only 45 percent of the people voted in the last election, because things don’t change.”

A common thread running throughout the convention was convergence or “intersectionality.” Scifo explained it this way:

“While we identify as women, as women, we haven’t been at the top of the hierarchy,” Scifo said. “There are many issues we struggle with: sexual assault, leave time, equal pay, no paid sick leave, reproductive health issues. At the same time, we’re not just women, we are African, Muslim, LGBTQ+. Intersectionality is not about each group having their own movement, it’s about including all the marginalized groups.”

Brasile added, “We’re entrenched in a patriarch, a type of economy. If we want to be inclusive of everyone, we must ask, what should that look like going forward? It’s not just here, it’s happening all over the world.”

The women agreed that right now politics is impeding the process of getting things done. They see no permanent solutions implemented.

They see many politicians doing what it takes to get re-elected, rather than moving the country or the community forward. 

“We want to make progress,” said Brasile. “That’s the good news. “

Energized by the convention, Scifo emphasized the importance of organizing locally so that we are a strong at the local level.

“Let’s get in office at every level, but start at the local level. Involvement in the school board, the municipality, or your township can lead people to understand how government works.” She added, “At a minimum,  vote.”


Area women energized by Women’s Convention in Detroit–