Ald. Pat Dowell, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 1st Congressional District, participated in the Women Pray for Peace – Interfaith Prayer and Sistership event on Saturday morning, March 26, 2022, at First Unitarian Church 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave Chicago, Illinois.

Rev. Monica Faith Stewart organized the event featuring former US Senator and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, US Senator Tammy Duckworth, Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.

Below is a copy of Pat Dowell’s remarks:

“I was thinking about what I would say, that this is near the end of Women’s History Month. And so this event is really appropriate to pull women together, to think about what’s going on in our world, in our city, and our country today. We live in challenging times, difficult times. And it’s so appropriate that we gather here today to pray for peace in our world, peace in our country, peace in our communities, in our homes, and in our families. And how appropriate that we acknowledge this morning the very significant issues that we face daily that we must struggle to overcome always? I was filled with pride when President Biden announced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his choice to fill an opening on the US Supreme Court.

I was hopeful somehow that her nomination would mean progress for America, as her credentials are impeccable. This woman, as they say, has paid her dues. I was hopeful that all those senators would see what I saw and know what I know, that it was way overdue, way overdue for a black woman to serve on our nation’s highest court. I thought the best part of America would be revealed in that moment. But no, she was bullied. Her record distorted, her numerous accomplishments minimized in the space where problems should be solved and not made. Surely we each have examples of poor problem-solving at the state and local levels, poor problem-solving in our important institutions, confusion, and conflict in our communities and in our homes, all across our city, all across our country, and in the world.

In our beloved Chicago, we have daily murderous attacks on people through homicide, domestic violence, and hate crimes. Every year, as Senator Duckworth has said, we see more guns added to our streets, inequalities in our schools, the lack of affordable housing, private sector disinvestment in our neighborhoods, disparity between the paychecks of men and women, how we have allowed corporations to govern our politics, not focusing on the needs of our people. Our conversations with each other have a disrespectful tone, visible in our public discourse. You see it in Congress; you see it in the city council. We don’t see each other or respect our differences. And the results in movements that take away our voting rights, that reduce our access to affordable healthcare, to affordable mental healthcare. I’d be going on, but you get the point. We live in chaos. We have issues. We have become inert and passive. So how do we get out of this?

Yes, prayer is important and necessary. So kudos to the organizers of this event, the Prayer Sisters and Rev. Monica Faith Stewart. Thank you for this day. But we, if we want to preserve our democracy, we must act and get involved. After all the prayers are done, we have to run for office, we have to serve on boards, we have to create block clubs, we have to join a group, we need more conversations with compassion and courtesy, we have to love on one another, and we have to elect people who care and are willing to do their part to turn this ship around. As Senator Cory Booker said at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearing, “They will not steal my joy.” May God hear our prayers today and heal the land. Amen.”