A picture of Senator Richard J. Durbin
Richard D.
Democrat IL

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  • Tribute to Dianne Jones

    by Senator Richard J. Durbin

    Posted on 2013-02-28

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    DURBIN. Madam President, I rise today to pay tribute to a friend and exceptional Illinoisan who recently passed away.



    In 1949, a young woman from New York moved to Chicago to attend college at Roosevelt University. Her name was Dianne Jones, and she stayed for the next 63 years.

    After graduating from Roosevelt, Dianne decided she wanted to teach, and she began planting her roots in the civil rights and labor communities. Along with her husband Linzey, she fought for civil rights and equality by helping to organize two Chicago-area chapters of the NAACP. Dianne then led the successful effort to desegregate the city's Rainbow Beach, and she even attended the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous ``I Have a Dream'' speech.

    As a teacher, Dianne established herself as an advocate for educators and children by helping to found one of the first teachers unions in Illinois. She later served as that union's local president, as well as vice president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers. As a teacher and an advocate, Dianne spent her life fighting to promote equality, justice, civil rights and education in Illinois. And she enjoyed it.

    Once, when asked about her career, Dianne said, ``Everyone should get to work at what they would volunteer to do.'' Dianne Jones was one of the lucky people who got to do just that. Those roots that she planted 50 years ago have continued to grow and multiply ever since.

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