Standing l to r: YWomen Leadership Awards Committee Co-Chair Susan Hope Engel, YWCA Evanston/North Shore Executive Director Karen Singer, YWomen Co-Chair Niki Moe Horrell.  Seated l to r: Honorees Ebony Joy, Pushpika Freitas, Dorothy Roberts, Kate Kligora (President of the Junior League Evanston-North Shore).

Dorothy Roberts, Pushpika Freitas, Ebony Joy and the Junior League were honored with YWomen Leadership awards on Oct. 8. Words from Harriet Tubman set the tone or the YWCA’s second annual YWomen Leadership Awards: “You have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Chosen by the YWCA Evanston/North Shore for their outstanding commitment to women’s empowerment, racial justice and social change were Dorothy Roberts, professor at Northwestern University School of Law; Pushpika Freitas, founder and president of MarketPlace: Handwork of India; Ebony Joy is a performer, writer, producer and artistic director of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre; and the Junior League of Evanston-North Shore.

Prof. Roberts, an author, lecturer, lawyer and activist, was honored for her “widely credited work in the areas of race, feminism and family.” Ms. Frietas was selected because she “has dedicated her life’s work to providing economic opportunities for women through the creation of a network of artisans and cooperatives throughout India.” Ms. Joy was honored for continuing the mission of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, whose mission is to bring affordable theater to the African-American community in Evanston. The Junior League was honored for its past and present work, having been one of the primary founders 25 years ago of Mary Lou’s Place, the YWCA’s domestic violence shelter, and continuing to be an integral part of the YWCA’s work.

Presented by Allstate and co-chaired by Susan Hope Engel and Niki Moe Horrell, the benefit raised more than $46,000 to support YWCA programs that empower women, including domestic violence services, all of which are provided free of charge to the community.