League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter February 2023 Volume 10 Issue 7

Co-Presidents' Letter

Dear Friends,

Happy February and Happy 103rd Birthday! On February 14, 1920, the League of Women Voters was established at the Congress Hotel in Chicago, and in August 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, granting many American women the right to vote.

As we celebrate Black History this month, remember that many Black women had to wait to exercise their right to vote until the 1965 Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. For a comprehensive history on the strength of these women, read Professor Martha S. Jones’s book, Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All.  Hailed by the New York Times as "an elegant and expansive history" and by the National Book Review as "forceful and compelling," it is “a critically acclaimed retelling of the history of suffrage in America. Vanguard is a profoundly researched examination of the racism and sexism Black women endured in their pursuit of political participation and power.” -- Historian Martha Jones wins L.A. Times Book Prize for history -- Hub (jhu.edu). 

For a quick look at other Black women who shaped our country, see 17 Black Women Who Shaped History -- TODAY.com. The list contains names of women, some of whom may be new to you while others will be familiar: “You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise!” -- Maya Angelou

In state news, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed two major pieces of legislation in January. First, on January 10, Illinois became the latest U.S. state to ban the sale or possession of assault weapons as President Biden has been advocating. Governor Pritzker remarked, "Today, honoring the commitment we made, we passed one of the strongest assault weapons bans in the nation, one I will be proud to sign.” Then on January 13, Governor Pritzker signed historic HB4664,” a reproductive rights and gender-affirming care omnibus bill that protects health care providers and their patients from legal attacks by neighboring states and expands health care access and options across the state.” -- Gov. Pritzker Signs Sweeping Reproductive Rights Protections into Law. -- illinois.gov.  

In world news, this February is the one-year anniversary of the unprovoked attack on the sovereign nation of Ukraine by Russia. Please remember these brave men and women in your prayers, mediations, karmic thoughts, and other support.

In light news, Valentine’s Day is coming up. The story goes birds paired in mid-February and February 14 was believed to be a day that brought lovers together, most poetically as “the birds and the bees.” Whether you are coupled or flying solo, you can celebrate the month by observing Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17.

Finally, we would love to see you at our League’s Members Mingle this Saturday, February 11! (Details below!) This is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and see what’s in store for the rest of the program year. 

Hope to see you there! Jane and Joan

Member Mingle

This is the last reminder to RSVP to join us this Saturday, February 11, at 11:00am, for our in-person Membership Mingle. Lunch and conversation with members and prospective members will take place on the 13th floor of Brookdale Senior Center, 1111 Ontario. So far we have about 30 people signed up to attend. We would love to have more! Later this week, those who have signed up will receive a reminder email about the luncheon.

Great Decisions

The Great Decisions Group at Maze Library will be meeting via Zoom in the future. There are two books available ($30 each), so you can still join the discussion groups. Contact Alex Matthews if you would like to purchase a book. You can also visit the Foreign Policy Association website to order the readings, including downloadable e-books.

April Municipal Elections

Right now, there are no contested elections in River Forest. Surprising, we know. We still have three Oak Park forums and two Forest Park forums scheduled for February and March. Please go here to check our website calendar where you can click on a posted entry for more information and to register for online forums. Growing Community Media (Wednesday Journal) will sponsor three in-person forums for Oak Park-River Forest H.S., Oak Park Village Trustees, and Forest Park Mayoral/Commissioner seats. These are also listed on our website calendar and don't need registration.

We still need your questions for our forums. Leaguers are the most informed citizens, so please send your thoughtful and timely questions to our email.

Ranked Choice Voting

Reform for Illinois thinks that Chicagoans deserve a hearing about Ranked Choice Voting. Unfortunately, Ald. Raymond Lopez has blocked the resolution from advancing in the City Council. Read more about this impasse here.

One Earth Films

As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability, the LWV OPRF Environment Committee is proud to be a sponsor of the One Earth Film Festival running March 3-12. The schedule for upcoming films is now online. Tickets can be purchased now at oneearthfilmfest.org. Virtual and in-person screenings are available. Please support this initiative; tickets are very reasonable.

Popular Vote

The League of Women Voters has long supported the direct election of the President of the United States and the National Popular Vote as one way to achieve it. In fact, at the LWV US National Convention in June, 2022, the direct election of the president, including both a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (the more immediate pathway) and the abolishment of the Electoral College by constitutional amendment (the moon-shot pathway) were made an explicit part of the Campaign for Making Democracy Work!!!

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is a state-by-state agreement that assures that the nationwide winner of the presidential election becomes president. Happily, Illinois has passed the NPVIC, but additional states must pass the law to implement it. Several states have a probability of passage in their current legislative session, including our Midwest neighbors of Minnesota and Michigan. We can help get NPVIC passed in these states!

We are putting together a list of our league members (or others in IL who would like to participate) who are willing to help make phone calls or texts into the states considering the bill. We expect the bills in MN and MI to move rather swiftly, so please volunteer in this important effort. No fears-your personal phone numbers will not be disclosed. 

To volunteer or get more information about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, contact Barb Paterick.

LWV Chicago February Update

LWV US February Update

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