League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter December 2021 Volume 7 Issue 5
Presidents Letter
Dear Friends,
It’s been quite a year. An election was contested in a slow-motion assault on democracy, the nation has been both united and divided in grief, and science, while moving at the speed of light, became a political weapon and the notion of patriotism was hijacked by insurrectionists. Verdict after verdict was issued by courts, some a clear victory for civil rights and decency, others much less so. Politicians uttered statements for which children would have been disciplined while colleagues stood mute. 

Yet we persevere. After 2020’s record-breaking voter turnout, institutions, courts, and elected officials upheld democracy. The nation’s vaccine rates, by mandate or not, continue to rise. Theaters, restaurants, and museums are open again. Nationwide, young people have embraced environmental causes and normalized gender identity. On the state level, Illinois passed historic environmental protections and is paying its debt. 

At the local level, community service providers pivoted in unimaginable ways to continue to provide housing, food, mental health and domestic abuse services, and other key services amidst the pandemic. Resilience is a truly remarkable thing. 

As the year ends, we also give thanks for you, our League of Women Voters colleagues. Through your individual actions as well as those on behalf of the League, the good fight for democracy and justice continues. It is a privilege to stand with you.  

Wishing you peace, love, and joy throughout December and into the New Year. 

Jane and Joan 
Second Tuesday in the New Year
The Kids are Alright or Are They? Mark your calendars for January 11, 9:30am for Second Tuesday’s first civic engagement program of 2022 to hear speakers from the Collaboration on Early Childhood and Pillars Community Health. The presenters will discuss what lessons were learned, what program adjustments were necessary, and what we will have to wait to learn about the effects the pandemic has had on children’s well-being. A sign-up sheet will be sent out soon.
Illinois Voter Guide
What’s LWVs most powerful voter outreach tool? Our indomitable, dedicated members, of course! And what is THEIR most powerful voter outreach tool? The Illinois Voter Guide!
At the click of a button or the scan of a QR code, Leaguers can put this powerful tool in the hands of every voter in every corner of our state. Register now to join LWV IL on Thursday, December 9, from 7:00-8:00pm and find out how the Illinois Voter Guide informs and empowers voters. What will be discussed: how IVG works—the basics, how LWV IL will tailor it to your community’s elections, uploading your candidate forum video, facilitating inclusion of local candidate Q&A, providing a link for candidates to submit their own information, how using IVG expands your voter information platform, and LWV IL promotion tools you can use. The Illinois Voter Guide is the only one-stop voter information guide that provides equitable access to nonpartisan voter information statewide because it is the only voter information guide with in-depth statewide election coverage.
Observer Training
Our League still needs Board Meeting Observers for all of our local municipal elected boards. LWV IL will have another training session on Thursday, January 6, 2022, from 7:00-8:00pm. This session will help members learn the ins and outs of this valuable League process. Members only can register here for the training. Registration closes 24 hours prior to the training. The event link will be sent a day in advance and one hour before the event.
Great Decisions
Great Decisions will begin new group discussions with new 2022 topics starting in February. This promises to be an exciting series of discussions about international issues exploring 8 issues over 8 sessions. Books need to be ordered now for this Spring session, so please email Alex Matthews ASAP to order your book. The topics will be Outer Space, Climate Change, Russia and the U.S., Myanmar and ASEAN, Quad Alliance, Drug Policy in Latin America, Industrial Policy, and Biden's Agenda.
Election Threats Webinar This Week
Join Common Cause Leaders on Wednesday, December 8th from 6:00-7:00pm CST for the second webinar in this end-of-year series, Threats to Elections: National, Regional and Local Perspectives. Jesse Littlewood, Vice President for Campaigns, Sylvia Albert, Director of Voting and Elections, and Jay Heck, Executive Director for Common Cause Wisconsin will cover threats to elections across the country, misinformation and disinformation, as well as an update on what is happening with the Wisconsin Elections Commission. Click here to register.
UN Climate Change Conference
Read about League member Emily Polakowski’s experience at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Highlights include: 
·         The hot temperatures in the Pacific Northwest this summer would have been labeled “statistically impossible” in the past. 
·         Events called Atmospheric rivers result in rain bombs, mud slides, and the flooding of homes and transportation systems. 
·         Permafrost melting in Siberia results in greenhouse gas and methane emissions. 
·         The UN predicts that there will be up to 1 billion climate refugees by the end of the century because their current homes will become incompatible with human life.  
·         Women are often more impacted by climate change than men, as they are responsible for the majority of food preparation, childcare, and care of the home and are therefore more vulnerable to infrastructure disasters. It’s estimated that as many as 80% of climate change refugees are female. 

Want more details? You can read the full report here
LWV US December 2 Update
LWV UMRR December Update