League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter June 2023 Volume 10 Issue 11

Co-Presidents' Letter

Dear Friends,

Happy June! June ushers in the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours while the southern Hemisphere has the fewest daylight hours. Perhaps you are using these longer days to finish up garden beds just as we hit 90 degrees!


A shout out to our Advocacy committee members and those of you who emailed or made phone calls in support of the League’s priorities. The Committee worked diligently this year: in January we had our first meeting of the year with Senate President Don Harmon around the Invest in Kids Act. During March and April, the committee met with other Illinois Legislators, including Representative Emanuel “Chris” Welch, the Speaker of the House, and Representatives LaShawn Ford and Camille Lilly, to advocate for environmental issues, increased funding for early childhood and public education, mental health concerns, rental equity, and more.

The Illinois 103rd General Assembly passed a $50.6 billion state spending plan for FY ’24 that invests more in children and families. It includes $250 million to increase the number of preschool slots available, stabilize the early childhood workforce, and expand the early intervention and home visiting programs. Also included is an $85 million increase to support homelessness prevention, affordable housing, outreach, and other programs aimed at reducing homelessness. The 2024 budget does not include support for the Invest in Kids Act, which our League and other chapters fought hard to sunset. There were wins in immigration funding also. Go here for more budget details.

This was the 99th successful year in which the League promoted democracy, and our committees have been busy. The Voter Services Committee worked with Julian M.S. to supply Pollstar Voting Booths for their mock election, provided resources for students at Dominican University for their “DU Votes” program in which students register students (101 students were registered), and made a Ranked Choice Voting presentation to the Oak Park Village Board. The Environmental Committee was key in the Village of Oak Park to passing a plastic-free ordinance; Jessica Voight of Forest Park helped pass a similar ordinance for that village. The Observer Corps submitted observer reports for at least three local governmental bodies. Drinks and Dialogue held two successful programs, and Great Decisions had 27 participants at two locations. The Fundraising Committee was its most successful since 2019. 

June is Gun Violence Awareness Month. The harsh reality is that we are experiencing major gun violence in our state, in Chicago, and in our nation every day. It’s encouraging that the state budget includes millions of dollars to support public safety measures to help keep communities safe and to address the rising rate of crime. The Illinois ban on assault weapons has – so far – withstood legal challenges when in early May the Supreme Court denied a request from gun rights groups to temporarily block the law. 

June is also Pride Month, and we encourage you to support LGBTQ+ rights. Although injustice remains, we have come a long way in raising awareness, increasing acceptance, and encouraging inclusiveness. Learn about the history of Pride Month here.

Please register for our in-person Annual Meeting this Thursday, June 8th at 6:00pm. We look forward to seeing you there and remember, your vote counts! In July, there will not be a President’s letter but rest assured, the new Board and committees will be working amidst vacations and barbecues. See below for the link to sign up and to download the meeting packet.

“Hello June! Be a month of peace and Love.”

Wishing you a wonderful summer!

Jane and Joan

From Joan: This will be my last month serving as Co-president. It has been my pleasure and honor to have a two-year tenure as Co-president with Jane and to be on the Board for several years before that, wearing many hats. I am fortunate to have met and worked with so many dedicated people and am excited to remain on League committees. Hope to see you at upcoming events!

Annual Meeting Update

Our League's Annual Meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, June 8. The business meeting will start at 6:00pm on the 2nd floor of Brookdale Senior Living Community, 1111 Ontario, Oak Park. During the business meeting we will enjoy a light supper and vote on our 2023-2024 budget and slate of officers, after which we will have a presentation by Oak Park Village Trustee and Takeout 25 founder, Ravi Parakkat. The updated Annual Meeting packet of information is here. We will have the packet displayed on a screen and you will also be able to access the packet on our website. Today is the last day to RSVP your attendance so we are assured of a quorum to pass business agenda items and have a head count for the supper. We have 26 members attending so far. We need more!

Lake Michigan Cruise

Please join LWV Lake Michigan in Grand Haven, Michigan, to celebrate the beginning of summer on Lake Michigan with a cruise aboard the D.J. Angus, a research vessel departing from the resort town of Grand Haven at 9:30am ET and returning at noon ET on Saturday, June 24, 2023. 

On this cruise ($10), we will engage in water quality testing and learn about the ongoing research programs that help protect our Lake Michigan watershed. We will cruise Spring Lake and, weather permitting, Lake Michigan to compare water quality. This outing is the first in a series of state-specific programming in each state. Participants from any state are welcome, including members, friends, and family!

Following the cruise, enjoy a catered lunch ($30) at the river-front American Legion Hall and learn about the work of the League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. 

The cruise is limited to 26 participants, but there is no limit on luncheon participants. Join us for the cruise or lunch, or both. We look forward to seeing you there! Register and pay for this event here.

Lastly, the LWV Lake Michigan Region Nominating Committee is now recruiting the slate of officers for 2023-2024. The Committee is tasked with slating the offices of Treasurer, Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, and Nominating Committee members. As a member of LWV OPRF that pays dues to LWV LMR, you are eligible to self-nominate. Email your nominations to lwvlakemichigan@gmail.com, as soon as possible or by July 15, 2023. Please include "2023-24 Nomination" in the subject line and provide your phone number and preferred email address.

MWRD FLOW June Newsletter

LWV UMMRR June Newsletter

LWV US June 1 Update

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