League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter May 2022 Volume 9 Issue 9

Co-Presidents' Letter

Dear Friends,

What a long year this month has been, right? The Ukrainian war enters day 100, and we grieve the destruction and the future of so many Ukrainians. Then came the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that appears to completely overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. That landmark ruling made abortion legal and buttressed other privacy interests; implicit in the opinion are threats to other privacy rights. The LWV US remains an amicus partner in Dobbs and continues to push for reproductive justice.

In a 10-day period, an 18-year-old male White nationalist opened fire on May 14 in a Buffalo grocery store while livestreaming the carnage on Facebook, killing 10 and injuring three. On May 24, an 18-year-old male Texan opened fire in an elementary school, slaughtering 19 children and three adults. In each case, an AR-15, dubbed "America's rifle" by the NRA was used. LWV US and LWV IL has long supported strong measures to regulate handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons. The Leagues of the US, New York, and Florida are amicus partners in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, a case that will determine whether guns are allowed in public spaces such as polling locations. 

Martin Luther King Jr. said we may have finite defeats, but we must always have infinite hope. Put this number for Congress in your cell phone: (202) 224-3121. Use it often. You will be able to reach your two Senators and your member of Congress. Tell them to pass HR8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. To ban assault weapons, again. Tell them to support women’s reproductive choice. Call out disinformation. Contribute if you can. We do something.

Locally, we promote democracy. This year was the 97th successful one in which our League again did so, despite pandemic limitations. We hosted over 200 people for discussion on topics such as the big lie, reproductive choice, reducing gun violence, and the National Interstate Voting Compact. The Voter Services Committee registered voters, organized Get Out the Vote campaigns, and distributed voter information palm cards. The Advocacy Committee met with Illinois legislators, including the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, to discuss environmental justice, common sense gun laws, quality public education, and more. The Environmental Committee helped Illinois pass one of the nation’s most ambitious state level clean energy plans. Yes, we do something.

Happy Pride Month! Go here if you’d like an LWV Pride logo sized for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: LWV pride logos.

We won’t be writing again until August, so we wish you a happy, healthy, tomato-filled summer. Please rejuvenate, refresh, refill. When you come back, we’ll do some things! 


Jane and Joan

Annual Meeting Recap

Over 35 members attended our League’s 97th Annual Meeting on June 2nd. The 2022-23 Budget, Bylaw changes, program, and our slate of Board members were approved. As we begin the new program year, we invite any of you interested in getting more involved to please contact Co-Presidents Joan Petertil or Jane Hastings, or the Membership Chairs listed at the end of this newsletter to discuss volunteer opportunities. Please reach out with your availability and suggestions.

Our speaker for the night, Laura Davis, LWV IL Environmental specialist, LWV CC Director, and LWV Palatine member, spoke about the Cook County Forest Preserve referendum on the November 8th ballot. The referendum will: 1) protect forests to improve air quality; 2) protect wildlife habitat; 3) protect land to provide natural flood water storage to help reduce flooding; 4) protect and restore forests and wetlands so that they can store carbon and remove carbon pollution from the air naturally; 5) acquire and restore land to protect the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; and 6) protect habitat for plants and animals. The website is: voteyesforestpreserves.org. 

Thank you to outgoing Treasurer Pauline Koch for her financial and precise work these past two years and to outgoing Board member Linda Valentine for her efforts, including work on last year’s Kick-Off meeting committee. We welcome incoming Board members Barbara Paterick, Director, and Susan Jaffee, Treasurer. Thanks also to all the continuing Board members—a Board and Committee Chair list is attached at the end of this newsletter—we couldn’t do this work without all of them and their committee members!

Missing League Tablecloth

We have not had in-person events since the pandemic shutdown in March of 2020. At the events before the shutdown, we always used a white tablecloth with the League logo on it. This is now....missing. Did you borrow it for one our events at that time? If so, please contact Peggy Kell so a pick-up can be arranged. Thanks for looking!

Forest Preserve Referendum

As noted above, voters will have an opportunity to vote Yes to protect clean water sources, air quality, and wildlife in Cook County on the November ballot. A property tax increase of 0.025% (less than $1.66 a month for the vast majority of homeowners) will protect, restore, and expand the Cook County Forest Preserves.

There are going to be Forest Preserve walks throughout the summer to provide an opportunity to get better acquainted with various forest preserves in the system. The walks are free, but you must register for them. They are:

Dan Ryan WoodsWednesday, June 8, 10:00am–noon, S. Western Ave & W. 87th St.

Beaubien Woods, Tuesday, July 19, 10:00–11:30am, W. Doty Ave S., southeast of E. 130th St & S. Ellis Ave.

Schiller WoodsWednesday, August 3, 10:00–11:30am, W. Irving Park Rd, east of Des Plaines River Rd.

Catherine Chevalier WoodsThursday, September 15, 10:00–11:30am, N. East River Rd, north of W. Foster Ave.

Observer Corps

The League’s trained Observer Corps are a respected part of the community— they work to keep local governments accountable and community members informed. Our League has been woefully short of observers for the past two years, even when municipal meetings could have been observed online. Would you be available to observe one meeting a month of a local governmental unit? It can be the easiest way to contribute to our League's mission. To ensure that government stays transparent, observers are needed. Contact Amber Elmer for more information.

National Popular Vote

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is launching a series of informational

webinars about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact throughout the summer.

The first of this series is titled, “The National Popular Vote: What, Why and How?" It is an introductory look at this legislation and how it could improve our democracy. Join the League at 6:30pm on June 7 for this virtual event The first webinar will feature Eileen Reavey, the National Grassroots Director of National Popular Vote. Eileen also co-founded the grassroots advocacy group campaigning for Oregon to pass the National Popular Vote bill in 2016. For decades, the League of Women Voters has supported the direct popular vote method for electing the President and Vice President. And in 2010, the League adopted a position of support for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) proposal.

For those who cannot make the live events in this series, the recordings will be posted to the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s YouTube page and website.

LWV US  June 2 Update

LWV IL June Update

LWV UMRR June Newsletter

League Calendar
LWV OPRF Board/Committee List
Editor Contact
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