The 2021 Agent of Change – Joy Bowling
Joy Bowling of the Aurora Area Branch was honored as the AAUW-IL 2021 Agent of Change recipient at our 2021 (virtual version) 96th State Convention for her 40+ years as a voter registrar, but most specifically for registering 67 voters in 2020 during a pandemic.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Joy could be found registering voters at candidate forums, several area churches and even at the MLK Jr Tribute at the Chicago Sinfonietta.
After the pandemic hit, she continued her work. Joy passed out QR code cards so people could register on their smart phones while they were waiting in lines at the food pantry. She registered 4 physical therapy assistants while at her doctor’s appointment, as well as 5 dental assistants while at the dentist. Her proudest moment was registering 7 women at the Lifespring Center, where they offer safe shelter for women and children that have lost their housing due to addiction, abuse or financial crisis.
Joy also partnered with the Quad County Urban League and conducted two voter registrar classes that resulted in 10 African American new voter registrars.
She also participated in GOTV initiatives that included postcard writing campaigns and made 500 phone calls to GOTV.
Per the AAUW website “increasing voter turnout was a priority for the 2020 election. The more people who vote, the better our representative democracy will function.” Joy’s work of inspiring voters and connecting with activists helped get our country’s first woman of color elected as Vice President along with changing the administration that was that was going in the direction that did not support equity for all.
Here she is accepting the award at our virtual AAUW-IL State Convention in May 2021.