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About Us

Will County Take Back the Night:

  • Brings survivors, supporters, activists and community leaders together in a call for the end of violence against women.
  • Creates a greater awareness of violence against women in our community.
  • Educates the public about the attitudes and behavior that perpetuate this problem.

Take Back the Night first appeared in Europe in 1976 in response to a series of sexual assaults and murders against women. Five years later, the first event was held in the United States and has continued throughout the world as a sign of empowerment for women, men and children. This event offers an opportunity for survivors of abuse to join with others of all races, cultures, background and experience to combine the strength of their voices to declare an end to violence.

Since 1996, Will County Take Back the Night has hosted an annual rally to raise awareness for sexual violence and to support survivors in their healing process. Take Back the Night is critical to Will County’s overall commitment to raising awareness about violence against women and the tragedies it creates. Each year, the event includes a featured speaker, entertainment, a brief march, and an information table with materials from organizations involved in helping victims of violence.

Will County Take Back the Night also raises funds for local agencies which assist women and their families. Your donations help us provide financial assistance to nonprofit agencies that work directly with women and children whose lives were affected by violence.

About Us

2016 Steering Committee

Amirrah Abou-Youssef
Co-Chairperson
Guardian Angel Community Services
Joliet Junior Woman’s Club

Stacey Dillard
Co-Chairperson
National Hookup of Black Women
Zonta Club of Joliet

Tycee Bell
Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Northwest Indiana

Katrina Crone
Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center
Joliet Junior Woman’s Club

Shelbey Hammond
Plainfield Junior Woman’s Club

Bonnie Horne
Zonta Club of Joliet Area

Carolyn Kahn
Bridges to a New Day

Marsha Lega
Marsha Lega Studio, Inc.
Zonta Club of Joliet Area

Beth Ann May
Joliet Township Clerk
Zonta Club of Joliet Area

Lora McGuire
Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center
Zonta Club of Joliet Area

Anna Miller
Greater Joliet Area YMCA

Sr. Albert Marie Papesh, OSF
Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate

Cheryl Pristas
Guardian Angel Community Services
DaVita Dialysis

Cherry Powell
First Assembly of God Church

Yolanda Reyes
Prairie State Legal Services
Zonta Club of Joliet

Lynette Shea
Will County Circuit Clerk’s Office

Jean Terdic
Lambs Fold Center for Women and Children

Tracey Theard
Joliet Junior College

Karen Ward
Community Volunteer

Mardi Wunderlich
Joliet Police Department
Zonta Club of Joliet

History

1997: Bicentennial Park
Chairperson: Sue O’Shaughnessy, Will County N.O.W.

1998: JJC Players, University of St. Francis
Chairperson: Lora McGuire, JJC Nursing Professor

1999: Merri Dee, WGN-TV, Joliet West High School
Chairperson: Beth Gorski, Will County Children’s Advocacy Center

2000: Denise Brown, Nicole Brown’s Sister, Joliet West High School
Chairperson: Latrina Blair, Will County State’s Attorney’s Office

2001: Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, Joliet Central High School
Chairperson: Beth Ann May, Will County Circuit Clerk’s Office     

2002: Lester Munson, Sports Illustrated, Joliet West High School
Chairperson: Mardi Wunderlich, Joliet Police Department

2003: Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, Joliet Catholic Academy
Chairperson: Joy Alwan, Will County Women’s Bar Association

2004: Vicki Coffey, Chicago Abused Women Coalition, Hufford Junior High School
Chairperson: Jan Larsen, Herald-News

2005: Terri Jandusa Nicolai, Victim Turned Advocate, Joliet Central High School
Chairperson: Yolanda Reyes, Will County Legal Assistance           

2006: Vicki Crompton, Teen Dating Violence Advocate, Joliet West High School
Chairperson: Denise Payton, Will County CASA

2007: Human Trafficking: A Crime of Violence Against Women, Joliet West High School
Chairperson: Jean Mandeville, Lamb’s Fold

2008: Diane Wetendorf, An Abuse of Power, Joliet West High School
Chairperson: Carrie Jo Claussen, Groundwork

2009: Art Moore, StandUp – Illinois Center for Violence Prevention, Bicentennial Park
Chairperson, Jodi Wartenberg          

2010: Brenda D. Taylor, Author of “Beauty to Ashes,” University of St. Francis
Chairperson: April Balzhiser, Groundwork

2011: Carmina Salcido, Author of “Not Lost Forever: My Story of Survival,” Joliet West High School
Co-chairpersons: Katrina Crone, Will County State’s Attorney; Julie Oetter, Big Brother Big Sisters             

2012: Linda King, Fix the Hurt, First Assembly of God
Chairperson: Julie Goetten, Big Brothers Big Sisters         

2013: Neil Schori, Lead Pastor, Naperville Christian Church, First Assembly of God
Co-chairpersons: Cheryl Pristas, Groundwork; Bonnie Horne, Zonta Club of Joliet             

2014: Sherry Anicich and Kellie Stryker, Founders, The Purple Project, Joliet Park District
Co-chairpersons: Bonnie Horne, Zonta Club of Joliet; Lynette Shea, Will County Circuit Clerks Office             

2015: Victor Pacini, Motivational Speaker, First Assembly of God
Co-chairpersons: Stacey Dillard, National Hook-Up of Black Women; Lisa Tomko, Office of State Representative Natalie Manley