League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter May 2021 Volume 6 Issue 10
President's Letter
Dear Members,

Spring is finally here as evidenced by birds singing, trees turning green, blossoms decorating the streets, and most of all, the Spring Plant Sale! We were fortunate to get a beautiful weekend so that many people came out to purchase flowers, herbs, and plants for their yards, balconies and porches. Since Friday, 25 members have participated in the event purchasing over $3,000 worth of selections; and there is still one more day. Now the work of planting begins!

April was a busy month as we finalized next year’s slate, budget, and program ideas. We look forward to more open and (hopefully) in-person gatherings. Many of us have been vaccinated, allowing for a more relaxed and enjoyable summer. Due to our support, most local restaurants survived the winter months and are now open for outdoor dining.
Unfortunately, many retail stores have closed, leaving empty windows on Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue. Hopefully, new businesses will open as our economy comes roaring back.

On April 29 our League partnered with the Forest Park Library to participate in the national “People Powered Day of Action” featuring Robert Millman’s “Line in the Street” film followed by a presentation from State Redistricting Specialist Paula Lawson. Now we eagerly await the next drawing of the lines by our legislators in Springfield next month. New Speaker of the House, Chris Welch, will be the guest speaker at our Annual Meeting on June 3rd. We hope you all will join us virtually for this event. We also hope to see you on May 18th at the LWV Cook County’s Annual Meeting with guest speaker and President of the Cook County Board, Toni Preckwinkle.

Another highlight of the year was our Criminal Justice Reform Study, which was recently approved by the State League Board and will be called to a vote by the delegates at the State Convention on June 12 and 13. A small committee of Oak Park members worked diligently to research, discuss, and present their findings to our membership. We reached Consensus on January 30 with a unanimous vote to approve.

This is my last President’s Letter as my term has come to an end. I wasn’t planning on a world wide epidemic but due to the ingenuity and dedication of our Board Members and Committee Chairs, we didn’t miss a beat, as they made the transition using Zoom to conduct meetings virtually. Truly amazing! Thank you all for your hard work! It has been a pleasure to serve you, and I look forward to continuing as a Director on the Board for the next two years. I leave you in good hands as two Co-Presidents, Jane Hastings and Joan Petertil, take over the leadership next month. With the support of our continuing and new officers, they will doubtless do an extraordinary job. 

Have a wonderful summer!

Second Tuesday Wrap-up
Next Week ~ Second Tuesday forum will meet for the last time this spring on May 11, and the floor is yours. Brainstorm with us on what worked best for you this year - What would you like to talk about next year? - Do you have suggestions for speakers? - Should we stay virtual? So many questions! Mark your calendar and sign up here for our Second Tuesday Program Year Wrap-UpMay 11, 9:30-11am. We hope to see you soon!
Mothers and Others for Peace
 Mothers and Others For Peace (MOFP) works toward building a peaceful future. We are inspired by Julia Ward Howe’s rallying cry to women to stop wars after the terrible loss of life in the Civil War and her call for women to gather together once a year on a “Mothers’ Day” to focus on ways to find peace. In past years, we have hosted events to mark the activist roots of Mothers’ Day with gatherings of writers, musicians and speakers, as well as flower-making, displays, and peace book discussions at the Oak Park Public Library. This year, we again join with the Oak Park Public Library to feature materials for adults and children on peace and peacemakers. All these materials may be checked out of the collection, and you can find them here. If you stop in at the Oak Park Main Branch Library, you will also find Mothers and Others For Peace bookmarks available for free in a lobby display, as well as at the Maze Branch. Our bookmark contains lyrics from a song about Julia Ward Howe recorded by Tom Chapin. You can listen to it here. It is inspiring! You can also check out the Facebook page of MOFP here.
Annual Meeting
Our virtual Annual Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 3. Rep. Chris Welch will be our speaker. We are putting together the packet that will include the slate, bylaws, budget, program update, and Hazel Hanson Award nominee. The packet will be included in the May 17 Week in Preview. Please make sure you look for it.
Nonprofit Vote
Voter turnout in the 2020 elections broke records, with the most votes ever cast and the highest percentage of eligible voters turning out in over a century. So how do we keep this up in 2021 and beyond? Join Nonprofit Vote on Thursday, May 20 at 2 pm ET/ 11am PT for our webinar "The Benefits of Voting in Local Elections" as they discuss tips, techniques, and messaging strategies to find, engage, and entice voters to turn out for local races. You can register for the webinar here.
LWV Cook County April Newsletter