Cook County Celebrates Women's History Month


The Cook County Board of Commissioners celebrated Women’s History Month and the 2021 Unsung Heroines.


Women’s History Month first came to be as a national celebration in 1987, though the first celebrations began in 1981 and lasted only a week. Women have led movements for social and economic justice, made groundbreaking scientific discoveries, and enriched our societies with works of art and literature.


Today, women are continuing this legacy of leadership as entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers, scientists, lawyers, artists, and public officials. They are also providing guidance and care to their loved ones and strengthening families and communities.

Each year to celebrate Women’s History Month in Cook County, the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues hosts the Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award recognizing 18 women whose contributions to their communities, families, and professional endeavors have been so vital, but seldom recognized.


This year’s honorees are Debra Vines, District 1; Sheila McNary, District 2; Barbara Ellzey, District 3; Linda Blair, District 4; Vanessa Brown, District 5; Jacquelyne Underwood, District 6; Nury Ortega, District 7; Diana Mereles, District 8; Mary Lio, District 9; Killian Walsh, District 10; Sarah Dynia, District 11; Marci Sieracki, District 12; Jane Balaban, District 13; Amy Oberholtzer, District 14; Mary Jo Imperato, District 15; Elva Serna, District 16; Josephine Coleman, District 17; and Sameka Ducette Gates, At Large.


This extraordinary group of women is making big changes in their communities and beyond. It is an honor to celebrate them and lift up their voices in celebration of their amazing work.