Rachel Zibrat speech at Debs-Parsons-Randolph Dinner 2019

Chicago DSA presented Benita Ulisano with the Lucy Gonzalez Parsons Community Organizing Award for her work in helping women safely access healthcare.

Benita was unable to attend the event. The award was accepted on her behalf by Rachel Zibrat, Co-chair of CDSA’s Socialist Feminist Working Group.

Benita is currently the Escort Committee Co-Chair for the Illinois Choice Action Team and was the co-chair of the organization for nine years. She is a founding member of the Illinois Choice Action Team. The IL Choice Action Team clinic escort program has grown from one to six clinics during the past eight years and is still going strong. Benita first started escorting as a member of the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance in the 1990’s and was the designated lead clinic escort which directed a team of women every other weekend to escort doctors and patients into specific clinics. Benita is also the founder of the Clinic Vest Project. The project sends free escort vests to groups that need them. Currently, CVP has sent vests to escort groups in 42 states, the UK, and Canada. The organization has been in existence for 5 years. Benita’s passion for the movement began after finding out that a close friends’ older sister, Illiana, died from a self-induced abortion in 1971. Benita was 11 at the time and was told the woman died from a miscarriage. The death of Illiana greatly influenced her desire to join the movement after finally finding out the truth about her death nearly a decade later in 1980. Benita holds a BS in Computer Science from DePaul University and works full-time as Computer Engineer.

Recorded May 11, 2019