Left to right, Ann Feldman, founder and director of Artistic Circle; Ahlan Ahmed Mahmoud, co-founder of the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society; Precious Wright of the Youth Job Center; Sallie Gratch and Karyn Gershon, representing Project Kesher, were honored by the Evanston/North Shore YWCA.Photo by Evanston Photographic Studios

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For their outstanding commitment to women’s empowerment, racial justice and social change, the YWCA Evanston/North Shore presented awards to Ahlam Ahmed Mahmoud, Ann Feldman, Precious Wright and Project Kesher at the fourth annual YWomen Leadership Awards Benefit last month.

After surviving kidnapping and torture, Ahlam Ahmed Mahmoud immigrated to Chicago, where she has co-founded the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society, an organization devoted to helping Iraqi refugee women adapt to life in a new country.  The founder and artistic director of Artistic Circles, Ann Feldman creates collaborative media projects that promote social change by highlighting women’s work, achievements and stories.

Once a ward of the state who faced every imaginable obstacle in her young life, Precious Wright, the Lorraine H. Morton Young Woman of Promise honoree, graduated from Northwestern and now focuses on youth empowerment and social justice issues in Evanston.

 In addition to the three individual nominees, Project Kesher was honored for their work empowering women to become agents of social change by fostering local women’s leadership to conceive, design and implement projects that address the specific needs of their communities.