State of Illinois honor trailblazing women

Women’s History Month celebration part of statewide Fairness and Equality Campaign

Left to Right: Rhonda Carter Adams, Commissioner Jefferies, Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, Governor Bruce Rauner, Jimena Lopez, Angela Henry, Cori Rutherford, Janice Glenn, Dr. Sharon Kherat , and Larry Ivory

EAST PEORIA – Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce hosted “A Celebration of Trailblazing Women” on March 28, 2018, honoring the accomplishments of five Peoria-area women in celebration of Women’s History Month. The event was held as part of IDHR’s Fairness and Equality Campaign in recognition of the Illinois Bicentennial.

“The women honored today are shining trailblazers who have made incredible impacts on the Peoria community and in the State of Illinois,” said Gov. Rauner. “Their accomplishments light the way for all Illinoisans and remind us of the strong foundations that women have laid for us. We are proud to honor them during this Bicentennial year.”

“Today is a time to not only celebrate the positive impacts women have made in Illinois,” said IDHR Acting Director Janice Glenn. “It’s also a time to reflect on our challenges, and how we can continue to promote fairness and equality for women and fight discrimination.”

“The Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce is proud to be honoring and celebrating the great contribution of Women in the region,” said President and CEO of Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Larry Ivory.

Dr. Sheila Quirk-Bailey, the first female president of Illinois Central College and a trailblazer in her own right, served as keynote speaker for the event.

Five women were honored with IDHR’s Trailblazer Award for their work in education, women’s health and business.

• Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Peoria Public Schools
• Cori Rutherford, Par-A-Dice Hotel Casino
• Karen Cotton, Illinois American Water
• Angela Henry, Traveler Weekly Newspaper
• Jimena Lopez, Whole Women’s Health

IDHR’s 2018 Fairness and Equality Campaign is part of Illinois’ Bicentennial Celebration. As part of the campaign, IDHR is asking 200 municipalities across Illinois to pledge their support for the Department’s core values of fairness, equality, inclusion and non-discrimination.

Those interested in learning more about IDHR’s Fairness and Equality Campaign can contact IDHR at Units of local government interested in the campaign can submit an online interest form at


Illinois became the 21st state in the union on Dec. 3, 1818. The Illinois Bicentennial is a yearlong celebration of what has been BORN, BUILT & GROWN in the state and a reminder of why we are #IllinoisProud.

For a schedule of events held across the state for the Illinois Bicentennial, or to get details on how to become a partner, go to: