League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter September 2022 Volume 10 Issue 2

Co-Presidents' Letter

Hello friends,

With vacations over, school in session, and the cicada’s last call, we turn to fall. Time to clean the garden beds, put away flower pots, and quit battling the squirrels for the tomatoes. We anticipate cooler weather and hot soup and are grateful that there is indeed a time for every season. 

September 15 marks the 15th anniversary of the United Nation’s celebration of democracy by observing the International Day of Democracy. Has it ever been more germane? From democracy’s birth in ancient Greece, its foundation has been the ability of its people to make decisions for their nation. 

Since 2020, an astounding number of tenure-level public servants have turned away from democracy, passed laws to restrict voting eligibility and access, and adopted measures that corrupt the electoral process. The mid-terms loom large, so make sure you and your family – especially in states most impacted by these measures – are properly registered, informed, and have a plan to vote. Volunteer with the Voter Services Committee. Become a poll worker. Consider a contribution to our sisters in neighboring Missouri: League of Women Voters, Missouri NAACP Sue Over Law Criminalizing Voter Engagement Efforts | League of Women Voters (lwv.org)

There have been glimmers of hope. We’re looking at you, Kansas and Alaska! Also in 2020, the presidential election turnout among people ages 18-29 reached 52-55%, significantly higher than 2016. The Inflation Reduction Act includes the largest investment in addressing climate change in US history. After the Dobbs decision, women have been leading voter registration counts in several US states. One study shows new female voters outnumbered males by at least 10 percentage points in nine US states as of mid-August. Perhaps November will be more pink than red? 

Following a spirited debate and a close vote, a Transformation Roadmap was adopted at this year’s national LWV national convention. Its recommendations are based on findings from a self-assessment commissioned by LWVUS that found external stakeholders view the League as a trusted brand but don’t know what the League actually does. Internal stakeholders, while highly committed to the “compelling” work, are concerned about the distinction between local/state/national leagues and with outdated membership and administrative requirements. 

Over a two-year period, the League aims to increase mission impact by strengthening the partnership between league levels, upgrading membership mechanics, and investing in state leagues. LWVUS has published a draft of League and Member Rights and Responsibilities and is seeking comments by October 11. If interested, respond directly to the US League or send comments to the lwvoprf1924@gmail.com for inclusion in the League response. All of the Roadmap reports and proposed Rights and Responsibilities can be found here.

As you celebrate Labor Day, remember the women and men who fought for decent working conditions, living wages, and the establishment of our federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration in 1970. And if you’re interested, a monument to the men convicted in the Haymarket riot was erected in 1893 at the Forest Park cemetery where they are buried. 

Wishing you tender chicken and flavorful kabobs!

Joan and Jane

Fall Kick-Off

Did you know that in the absence of local journalism, there is increased government corruption, lower voter turnout, fewer people to run for office, and that false information spreads? 

Please join the us on Wednesday, September 21, at 7:00pm, for a discussion on the vital role that local journalism plays in preserving healthy democracies, building communities, and why not-for-profit community news centers may be the future of the industry.  

The panel will feature speakers from the Wednesday Journal and Growing Community Media, including Dan Haley, Editor and Publisher; Michael Romain, Editor and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and Melissa Elsmo, Editor of Oak Park Eats and Donor Relations Manager. Though free and open to the public, registration is required for this event that we are holding in partnership with the Forest Park Library. Go here to register.

Sweet Fundraiser!

It's time to make the donuts! Please sign up for a shift and slot for the Donut Fundraiser on Saturday, October 22. This is a no-brainer to raise League dollars without asking our members to contribute funds, just your time and work efforts.  

The time slots for volunteering are from 4:00am to 1:00pm, with most shifts being 3 hours. The selling booth is at the Oak Park Farmers Market in the Pilgrim Congregational Church parking lot, with parking available at the village lot across Scoville for volunteers. The donuts are made in the church basement—everyone is required to wear a mask when working inside.  Please use this link and sign up on an open line. Don’t forget to enter your phone number and email. Then hit Submit. You should receive a confirmation email. Training will be provided if you are unsure of a particular position. If you have any questions, please contact Joan Petertil. She'll be there bright and early!

Working Groups

In July, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch created four new working groups to help find solutions to critical issues for the state. The new groups will address reproductive health, firearm safety, mental health awareness, and the rise of online extremisms. Among others, Representative La Shawn Ford will serve on the firearm safety group and Representative Camille Lilly will serve be on the one for mental health. Remember, your representatives appreciate hearing from constituents.  

Ranked Choice Voting

Should Oak Park Village Trustees be elected using Ranked Choice Voting? That is the question our League, in partnership with other local organizations, is working to get on the April 2023 ballot as a binding referendum question. Would you like to join this group to work on citizen, League member, and Oak Park Trustee educational efforts? Then contact Peggy Kell. If you don't know anything about RCV,  go here to start learning. 

Membership Renewal

There is still time to renew your League membership, but the window is closing soon! We will be putting the member directory together in the next couple of weeks and you need to renew to be included. Go here to join online or download and print out the membership renewal form and mail that in with a check. It's that easy!


Please join the Center for American Progress' Reel Progress program and acclaimed film company Brave New Films for a nationwide virtual screening of "Suppressed and Sabotaged: The Fight to Vote" on Thursday, September 15 at 7:00pm CT. This powerful 45-minute documentary sheds light on the ongoing threats to free and fair elections in the United States and ways that people can help get democracy back on track. After the film screening, join us for remarks by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), followed by a panel discussion focused on voting rights and political power and how they intersect with abortion rights and gun violence prevention policies. Watch the "Suppressed and Sabotaged" trailer here. This free screening does require registration

LWV Chicago September Activities

League Calendar
LWV OPRF Board/Committee List
Editor Contact
LinkedIn Share This Email