League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter March 2021 Volume 6 Issue 8
President's Letter
February was a difficult month, mostly due to frigid weather, 18 inches of snow, giant icicles hanging off of gutters, cars covered in salt, and icy sidewalks. The country passed a new horrific milestone with 500,000 deaths due to Covid-19. 

With spring there is renewed hope, however, as the number of Covid cases continues to decline, more vaccines become available, and the weather gets warmer, melting ice and snow. We look forward to returning to our gardens in the spring. 

In spite of challenges, the League soldiered on. Peggy Kell has so far moderated five virtual candidate forums, partnering with the Oak Park Library and starting this week, the River Forest Library. There are seven more forums scheduled for March. You can find links to the recordings on our website. A job well done! Thanks to the Voters Service Committee for their hard work. We look forward to the election on April 6. Early voting begins March 10, and requested mail-in ballots should arrive soon.

Second Tuesday co-chairs Judith McDevitt and Jane Hastings sponsored an excellent program featuring the leaders of Housing Forward and Beyond Hunger. The services of these agencies have become ever more essential with increased homelessness and food insecurity due to Covid.

The Criminal Justice Reform Update Committee is winding up its work and will submit its final recommendations to the State League Board on March 6. Three fourths of the local leagues in the state submitted response forms and for the most part, answered ‘yes’ to the 50 questions asked in the study. Assuming that the State Board will approve the recommendations, the entire study will be voted on at the convention in June. The Oak Park Study Group thanks our members who attended the final consensus meeting. Although the League was unable to sponsor the sweeping Criminal Justice Reform Bill due to our outdated positions on the topic, Governor Pritzker signed it into law on February 22nd. The new law is in close alignment with the conclusions of our study.

The Nominating Committee is winding up its work for next year, which begins July 1. Open position details are below in the newsletter. We are especially reaching out to newer members who want to get involved and have a say in the direction of the League. 

We hope to see you at our “Night of Theatre” starring Elaine Bromka on March 19th at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through a link on the flyer below. There is also a link to a clip of this delightful one woman show. Hope to see you there!
Stay safe,
Your League Needs You!
Membership Recording Position Open: This is an opportunity for a member to get involved and learn more about our League. The largest part of the work is in June, July, and August, then winds down in September, although membership requests do come in during the year. Responsibilities include entering membership and dues information on spreadsheets and interfacing with the Membership Development chair. Training will be included, and there is an hourly stipend available. For more information, please contact Joan Petertil.

The Observer Program is structured to ensure that processes and decisions made by public entities are made in the open. Trained League observers attend meetings, note what happens, and then report back to their community through the local League. We need a chairperson for this committee and observers for our local governmental agencies. Right now, you can do this virtually. Interested? Read more about this opportunity here.
Tea for Three
LWV OPRF will stream the off-Broadway hit, Tea for Three on Friday, March 19 at 7:00pm. This one-woman play stars actress Elaine Bromka, who channels former first ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford. Tickets are $25 for our fundraiser and are available here. You can also mail your check to LWV OPRF, P.O. Box 3301, Oak Park, 60303-3301. View a video clip of the performance here.
Our Shared Lake Michigan: What's the Status?
Coming up next week ~ Join us on Tuesday, March 9, 9:30am, to meet LWV Lake Michigan Area leaders and learn about the vital environmental work this unique 4-state League is doing. LMR President Elizabeth Guscott-Mueller; environmental attorney and LMR Advocacy Chair David Mueller; and LMR VP Sarah Shirk will present on LMR's mission, its 4-state advocacy work and impact, the upcoming Education Conference, and opportunities for grassroots League members to get involved. Don't miss this! You can register right here.
Candidate Forums Continue
Our League has moderated five Oak Park Candidate Forums in the month of February. Virtual attendance has been high with more community members viewing the recordings at their leisure. You can see the complete schedule and view recordings on our website here. There are seven more Forums scheduled for March. Coming up this week are the River Forest School District 90, Village President, and Village Trustee Candidate Forums; register to attend these here. Please submit questions for these forums to the League email address here. Early voting starts on March 10, and Election Day is April 6.
One Earth Film Festival
If you love movies and you care about your health, your community and our magnificent planet we call home, join GoGreen Oak Park at the tenth anniversary season of the One Earth Film Festival, which takes place from March 5–14, 2021.
This year’s festival theme is “10 Years of Inspiring Change,” and you’re invited to watch more than 25 outstanding short and feature-length films that shine a light on the most important issues of our time. Learn solutions and actions addressing climate, environmental justice, conservation, waste and more. Watch online from the comfort of your own home, and participate in filmmaker and expert Q&As. Be moved. Be amazed. Be ready to create change. Visit oneearthfilmfest.org to see the schedule and reserve your tickets.
Sister, Sister
LWV US February 25, 2021