League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter July 2021 Volume 6 Issue 11
Co-President's Letter
Dear Members,

Greetings from the incoming LWV OPRF Co-Presidents, Joan Petertil and Jane Hastings. Beverly Graham leaves big shoes to fill but we will try to keep you as informed about League activities and opportunities. 
We hope you were able to join us for the LWV OPRF’s 97th annual meeting on June 3rd where we celebrated last year’s achievements and voted in a new slate of officers. A few highlights from 2020-2021 include: the fall kick-off, Reimagining Community Policing, hosting public meetings on civic topics, acting as local Fair Tax champions, sponsoring a “Powered Day of Action” on re-districting and, with LWV IL, a successful adoption of our state’s new Criminal Justice position. Despite the pandemic, the League also continued its voter efforts in helping to register and educate voters and hosted 12 candidate forums in partnership with the Oak Park and River Forest Libraries that were viewed by over 3400 citizens, live or recorded. Many thanks to all the volunteers who made this happen during a year of social isolation. 
On June 12 and 13, the LWVIL held its bi-annual convention with six delegates from our League in attendance. Allyson Haut was re-elected President of the state League and Azisti Dembowski was introduced as the new CEO. You can see a summary of activity and accomplishments for the last two years at LWVIL Board at Work, Biennium at a glance. The League also adopted three primary action pillars: Voting Rights and Election Processes, Addressing the Climate and Equitably Meeting Basic Human Needs. You can go here for more details. 
An LWV OPRF transition meeting between the outgoing and the in-coming board members and committee chairs was held on June 22. Thank you to departing members Kathy Balk, Carolyn Skipper, and Julianne Bonwit and a hearty welcome to the 2021-2022 board members and committee chairs! 
This next program year will be as busy, with priorities such as continuing voter education and registration and sponsoring public meetings on topics of civic interest. We also plan on resuming our International Relations Great Books Groups, Drinks and Dialogue, and Second Tuesday while continuing with our legislative advocacy. We hope to re-energize the Observer Corps to keep members current on local government activities. Please let us know if you have a particular interest in one of these committees and want to get involved. It was a really tough year for Democracy but it survived and we’ll continue to fight for its health!
Finally, please mark your calendars for October 23 when the League will be happily making and selling doughnuts at the Oak Park Farmers Market. 
May your flowers be beautiful, vegetables be bountiful, and barbeques be in person!
Happy summer!
Joan and Jane
Membership Renewals
Starting July 1st, membership renewals will be accepted. You can mail in the printed form you received via USPS with your check or go online to pay with a credit card. Our dues, $70 per person, make sure we can continue with our planned programs for the year. This would also be a great time to encourage a friend, neighbor, or relative to join. Many people join because a member has encouraged them to become part of our organization. Make the ask!
Criminal Justice Position Update
 At the June LWV IL Convention, after 4 years of research, discussion, presentations, and consensus meetings throughout the state, 96% of the delegates present voted to adopt the new Criminal Justice Update position. Six of our members worked on this locally, and should be commended for their efforts. They are Marsha Borders, Judy Crown, Michelle Fitz-Henry, Suzanne Isaacson, Joan Petertil, and Mary Cay Murray. It was a day of celebration not just for the League, but for those who have been treated unfairly in the criminal justice system. This means that we will now be able to advocate for new criminal justice reform legislation and defend the recently passed Safe T Bill. Kudos to the committee for all their hard work.
Listening Session
The Illinois Department of Human Services has launched the Illinois Commission on Poverty Elimination and Economic Security. The Commission is tasked with building out a strategic plan to help alleviate intergenerational poverty across the state by 2036. To inform this work, IDHS is holding listening sessions throughout the state to hear directly from constituents most impacted by poverty. DHS aims to engage a diverse group of constituents in these sessions, as community voice is critical to inform the work.
The session will be held virtually via Zoom and will be centered on the West Side of Chicago. If you are able to attend the session, information is below. You can also complete the pre-survey. The survey will help guide the themes of the session and be used to further inform the strategic planning process. Here is more information:
West Side of Chicago – Part II - June 29, 2021 from 6pm -8pm
  • This session will be hosted by the Puerto Rican Agenda and Commission Member Juan Calderon and will focus specifically on the Latinx Community on the Westside of Chicago. Please register for the event here:REGISTER.
July Break
There will be no Monday Week in Preview for the month of July. If you have any questions about membership or communications, please contact Peggy Kell. If you have any other League questions, please contact one of our new Co-Presidents: Joan Petertil or Jane Hastings. See you in August!
LWV Cook County July 15 Lunch and Learn
LWV IL June Convention Review