League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter August 2022 Volume 10 Issue 1

Co-Presidents' Letter

Dear Members,

We hope June and July were happy, healthy months and that you are re-charged and ready to tackle another year’s work. The July heat, here and across the world, is further evidence that climate change is real and can’t be ignored, a sobering thought as we again see Yosemite National Park’s and parts of Europe burning. 

A happy July fourth was planned for many communities, especially since it was the first year since the Covid quarantine that Independence parades were going forward. While many of us enjoyed the Oak Park parade, later we heard news of the horrific event at the Highland Park July Fourth parade and how a “picture-perfect day” turned into a nightmare for the people there, killing seven people and injuring many others. This was barely a month ago and followed the events in Buffalo, NY, and Uvalde, TX. A reminder that the LWV US has long supported reasonable gun control measures, including banning assault rifles and that LWV IL has an Issue Specialist available to talk with public groups on gun control. You can read the LWV IL letter on Highland Park here.

During June and July, there were eight mesmerizing hearings of the US Select Committee on investigating the January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol attack. The committee has set out to “document what ultimately became the former president’s seven-part plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election.” The eighth hearing, on July 21, highlighted the former president’s inaction to stop the mob from storming the Capitol that caused the loss of lives and put many more lives in danger. The hearings continue in September and are a stark reminder of just how perilously close we came to losing our American democracy. To quote Madeline Albright: “The temptation is powerful to close our eyes and wait for the worse to pass, but history tells that for freedom to survive, it must be defended, and that if lies are to stop, they must be exposed.”

On July 21st, four of our members, Ann Courter, Jane Hastings, Marilyn Pearson, and Joan Petertil met with Illinois Senate President Don Harmon for his update on curbing gun violence and stopping shootings in Illinois and across the nation. While the US Congress has recently passed the most significant firearms legislation in nearly 30 years, Senator Harmon said that banning assault weapons is still the most important legislation to pass. This will be discussed at a future Illinois session. Other topics discussed with Senator Harmon were the upcoming state budget, equitable funding in education, and reproductive rights, since the Supreme Court, as anticipated, overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022. We are fortunate to live in a state where our elected officials remain strong in support of women’s reproductive rights and work for progress on other important issues. For more information about these issues, go here.

We hope you get to spend time with family and friends on the beach or at picnics, relaxing and enjoying good company during August. We look forward to a successful year and joining together with you to help defend democracy. The League’s mission has never seemed as vital. 

Joan and Jane

Membership Renewal

Letters were sent to all current members in June, reminding everyone that July 1st was our League's renewal date. We still have at least half of our members who have not renewed. Do not delay! Go online to our website to pay your dues with your credit card or download the paper form and mail it back to LWV OPRF with your check. We need your membership and your participation to keep our League healthy and essential.

Enviroment Committee

During July Farmer’s Market Saturdays, the Environment Committee, led by Beverly Graham and Marsha Borders, hosted a table and talked to locals about alternatives to plastics and encouraged them to sign a petition to seek plastic-free alternatives in personal use and in our community. Information on the importance of voting “yes” on the November Cook County Forest Preserve Referendum was also distributed. 

The next committee meeting will be on August 10. Contact Beverly Graham for more information.

Time to make the donuts!

Save the date of Saturday, October 22, which will be our next shared Donut Day fundraiser at the Farmer’s Market. All those who volunteered last year can attest to it being a fun, worthwhile fundraiser. More details about signing up for a shift will be in future newsletters. For more information contact Joan Petertil.

Our League Needs You!

Committee Needs: Observers Corp, Second Tuesday, and Advocacy committees all need co-chairs. If you want more information or to volunteer for these committees, contact Membership Development Co-Chairs Tina Birnbaum or Judy Crown to volunteer.

Fall Kick0ff meeting: The first planning meeting for this annual event will be in early August. To join the committee, please contact Jane Hastings

Meetings: LWV OPRF monthly Executive meetings will be on Tuesdays, starting August 9, and the full monthly board meetings will be on Thursdays, starting on August 25. We would like your input for our League’s upcoming yearly programs. Please reach out to Jane Hastings or Joan Petertil. with your input.

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

In a summer of headlines about losses of life and losses of rights, there is some good news. The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is now available nationwide, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.  Dialing or texting 988 gives people a direct connection to trained professionals who can provide assistance and compassionate care for anyone experiencing mental health related distress, including family, friends and caregivers. Please share this number with your friends and family.

LWV US  July 28 Update

LWV Cook County Food For Thought August 8 Program

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