Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Catrina Howard talks veteran life, founding female veteran housing project
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

U.S. Navy veteran Catrina Howard's journey in the military and into veteran activism began after she graduated from Roosevelt High School in Chicago's Albany Park.

"I was not sure if I wanted to attend college, so I decided to join the armed forces," said Howard. "My neighbor joined the Navy and convinced me that I would enjoy it more than any other branch. She said I would travel and see how the rest of the world lives."

Howard served as an engineman, maintaining the ship's emergency diesel generator, refrigeration and cooling systems while also being a safety team member. During her four years in the Navy, she was home-ported in the United Kingdom and was able to visit Italy, France, Norway, Portugal and Canada during her off-duty days/weeks.

Over the next 20 years, Howard worked as an assembler/inspector at Ford Motor Company and stationary and building engineer for Chicago Public Schools ( CPS ).

"Working at CPS had its ups and downs," said Howard. "It was very humbling to be in an education environment as an adult. I worked with dynamic teachers and supportive staff who wore many hats including being mother/father figures in just about every community.

"My position was very demanding and challenging during CPS' financial crisis. It was an interesting experience being there while many schools were being closed and teachers were fired/laid off. Parents had to make tough choices while CPS practically uprooted many support systems for Chicago's under-served communities. This was one of the reasons why I decided to move on to other work opportunities."

During her final years at CPS, Howard got her undergraduate degree in project management from American Intercontinental University and later got a master's degree in public administration from Keller Graduate School of Management.

Currently, Howard works as the Chicago Family Health Center's facilities manager where she ensures that the clinics are structurally sound and meet governmental regulations. Chicago Family Health Center provides healthcare to underserved South Side communities.

When Howard is not working at her day job, she can be found running Saving Another Female Enlistee ( SAFE )—a 501( c )( 3 ) not-for-profit charitable/patriotic organization created to provide adequate and affordable housing that she founded in 2013.

"Some of my Navy sisters and brothers put together a reunion about 10 years ago," said Howard. "During the gathering, a group of us women were discussing our experiences while serving in the Navy. It was very shocking to discover that most of the women had been violated and sexually harassed while serving. A few of our shipmates struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction as they suffered in silence. This conversation led me to create SAFE where our primary goal is to encourage, and assist as needed, women veterans in accessing the benefits they are entitled to. More recently, we have helped homeless women veterans find housing and other support services."

One of the ways Howard raises awareness and money for SAFE is through fundraisers and other events. These include "Wine, Cheese and Massage" events where they invite guest speakers to talk about mental, physical and financial health and holistic wellness.

"We also network with other organizations that address health, employment, training and housing/homelessness issues," said Howard.

For each of the past three years, SAFE has held an annual LGBTQ veterans meet and greet event at Jeffrey Pub. Howard said the organizaion is planning the fourth annual event, to be held sometime this spring.

The brainchild of the LGBTQ event was a good friend of Howard's, Helena Wilson. They decided to hold these events at Jeffrey Pub because it is the oldest Black gay bar in the country.

"I was thinking, what a way to show my appreciation of this historic venue with another memorable event," said Howard. "We reached out to the owner of the bar and they opened their doors without reservation to assist in creating a space for LGBTQ veterans to meet."

Howard is seeking input from fellow LGBTQ veterans on this upcoming event. She explained that especially in this current political climate it is important for LGBTQ veterans to be recognized for the work they did to protect the United States even when they had to hid their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

"Working with fellow veterans is an honor and responsibility I take seriously," said Howard. "Vet to vet experiences remind me of the good and bad times we had while serving."

See for more information or to get involved with the upcoming LGBTQ event.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Study find young adults with lesbian parents more likely to report same-sex attraction 2019-03-21 - In the latest findings from the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, a new analysis finds that the 25-year-old children of lesbian parents ...

Gay News

Anti-gay fliers criticizing Lightfoot distributed near churches 2019-03-18 - Fliers decrying lesbian mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot appeared at a number of churches with predominantly Black congregations the morning of Feb. 17. The ...

Gay News

Homophobic attack targets Lori Lightfoot in Chicago mayoral race 2019-03-17 - Washington, DC — Homophobic fliers targeting openly lesbian Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot were distributed on cars in key neighborhoods of the city ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Filmmaker Barbara Hammer dies at 79 2019-03-17 - Pioneering experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer—whose works involved a distinctive lesbian perspective—has died of ovarian cancer, ARTNews reported. She was 79. Hammer's breakthrough film, ...

Gay News

Women In Comedy to host "A Love Letter to Myself, A Chicago Variety Show" 2019-03-13 - Chicago, Illinois — On Monday March 25, Women in Comedy hosts "A Love Letter to Myself" from 6 to 9 p.m. at Revolution ...

Gay News

UIC honors scholar Phoenix Matthews 2019-03-13 - Shortly before they accepted the University of Illinois at Chicago ( UIC ) College of Nursing 2018 Distinguished Researcher Award, scholar/researcher Phoenix Matthews ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart hosts Black Lesbian Archives stop 2019-03-12 - Kru Maekdo is a 26-year-old creative director, archivist, and artist. She is the owner of Maekdo Productions, a multimedia production and event programming ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2019 Lightfoot questions Preckwinkle's comment about lesbianism 2019-03-11 - During a March 7 debate between mayoral candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, Preckwinkle lauded Lightfoot's openness about her sexuality when moderator Carol ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Longtime non-profit advocate Vicky DiProva dies 2019-03-11 - Victoria "Vicky" DiProva died Feb. 12 due to multiple health complications. She was 54. She was born May 18, 1964, in Elgin and ...

Gay News

Crossroads Fund ED stepping down 2019-03-06 - Jeanne Kracher—the openly lesbian head of the local nonprofit organization Crossroads Fund—will step down from her post at the end of June, according ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.