Bonnie Cox, LWVIL President
FromFrom the President
Dear LWVIL Members,
Let me tell you the story of this beautiful wreath, how it arrived at my house, and the wonderful things about the League of Women Voters that it symbolizes for me and, I hope, you.
Our local LWV chose to support our local Art and Recreation Center fundraiser, the Festival of Trees, by contributing a wreath this year to be awarded to the highest bidder in a silent auction.  Sue, our industrious board president, engaged her talented friends to design and make this beautiful wreath celebrating the 19th Amendment.  Barbie, as a suffragist!  I love it!
Now this wreath adorns our front door.  Our dear friend Kathy, the most steadfast fellow Leaguer you could ever hope for, delivered it as a Christmas gift to John and me this week.  
Kathy and I have shared the entirety of LWV-Jo Daviess County history.  We first met at the meeting inviting fellow citizens to form a LWV in Jo Daviess County in February of 1981. 
Now to the symbolism of this wreath to me...
The color purple, a suffragist color, was chosen to symbolize loyalty, constancy of purpose, and unswerving steadfastness to a cause.  For me, that describes not only the LWV as on organization but so many LWV members I've met, like Kathy, who continue to dedicate their time and talent to the LWV year in and year out. 
The wreath is made of evergreens, a Native Americans symbol of longevity and wisdom.  I so firmly believe in our founder's dream of a civic organization dedicated to the belief that citizens, at every level, should play a critical role in advocacy at every level of government.  Barack Obama, in his farewell speech to the nation, said this about the need and reward of active citizenship:

...for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy is the citizen. So, you see, that's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.
To me, that speaks to the longevity and wisdom of our founder's dream of non partisan civic engagement to continually perfect this experiment we call American Democracy and for the role the LWV plays in it.
Finally, this wreath, as a gift, symbolizes friendship.  At this time of year when gift giving is such a part of the season, let's take a moment to be grateful for the many gifts of friendship that have grown and will continue to grow among us as LWV members.  

Yours in League,
League of Women Voters of Illinois
League of Women Voters of Illinois Education Fund
IssuesIssues Committee
Hilary Denk / He ather Cunningham, Co-chairs, Issues Committee
Resolve to 
Become Informed in 2018 - Registration For Issues Briefing is Open!
Bridging Divides: Cultivating Common Ground for Action  is the theme for this provocative and informative annual event on Saturday, February 10, 2018  at University Center,  525 South State Street, Chicago  from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.  

We have invited retiring legislators for our morning plenary to share how the partisan divide can be bridged in Springfield for effective action on League issues. The afternoon plenary features a stellar panel on criminal justice:  Michael G. Nerheim, Lake County State's Attorney;  Sharlyn Grace,  Senior Policy Analyst a nd Staff Attorney  Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice;
Anthony Lowery, Director, Policy & Advocacy, Safer Foundation; and State Senator Don Harmon, 39th District.

The breakout sessions address finding common ground in gun policy, ERA passage,clean water policy, segregation, property tax relief and voter access (automatic voter registration implementation and redistricting reform). An expert from the Shriver Poverty Law Center will share practical tips about effective advocacy and the latest messaging on the graduated rate income tax push during lunch. We are planning a fun social after the event for those who want to celebrate another great briefing. We will share some session via FB live and videotape all of them for future sharing. Attendees can choose to have their materials provided on paper or thumb drive (to save paper). 

Don't miss this event and share the FB event liberally with your fellow league members and friends! 

Registration is currently being taken by mail. Click here for the registration form, which includes the tentative program. Online registration will be available soon. 

Black History Month
'How we talk about race' was a theme of the 2017 LWVIL convention.  As the League explores ways to continue that conversation and raise awareness,  Black History Month is a particularly appropriate time to host a program, either for your members or the public.  There is an abundance of ideas on the internet -- e.g., https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/celebrate-black-history-month/ -- and you can tap into faculty at local colleges and universities for a speaker.   In 2017 one League had a speaker who presented a travelogue on the Alabama Civil Rights Historic Trail.  In 2018 this same League hopes to have a program focusing on the life and work of African-American visual artists such as Romare Bearden and Rashid Johnson. Alternatively,  you could have a conversation on when you first became aware of race, and see where that leads.  If you'd like to share program ideas, please contact Sheri Latash at LWVG2SheriL@gmail.com.

Finally, please read this important report regarding  criminal justice reform, specifically wrongful convictions.  
voterVoter Service
Sharon Alter, Vice President, Voter Service
Jan Dorner, Co-Chair
LWVUS President Chris Carson recently shared that when the LWVUS Board met in October, they agreed that the LWV's " mission focused work must continue ." That's why they are recommending that Leagues continue the Campaign for Making Democracy Work®. That campaign champions voting rights and emphasizes LWV leadership at the local, state, and federal level on voter protection and mobilization, election reform, campaign finance/money in politics and redistricting.

Additionally, the LWVUS suggests that during our program planning efforts, we not add new national studies or reviews to the agenda for the 2018-2020 biennium to better focus our energies on enacting critical reforms to our political system. The thinking is this:  If we don't get money out of politics, stop politicians from choosing their voters rather than voters choosing their politicians, and encourage and protect our citizens' voting rights; then we are limiting the progress we can make on the other issues we care about.   

LWVUS is endorsing and focusing their lobbying efforts on "We the People" reforms. 
 Go here for the history and description of the reforms introduced as bills in both the US House and Senate:  http://www.democracy21.org/homepage/democracy-21-president-stron

Here in Illinois, we are emphasizing voter mobilization through our voter registration efforts  and use of BallotReady.org which will go online via a direct link from our  lwvil.org website on February 1, 2018.  

Do you want to know more about BallotReady and how you league can promote it? Contact Jan Dorner  at  jdorner@lwvil.org   or Sharon Alter salter@lwvil.org

LWVIL has joined the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative, the coalition of orga
nizations working on redistricting in Illinois. Paula Lawson and Jane Ballangee, Redistricting Issues Specialists are our "go to" LWVIL people on what your local LWV can do to support fair redistricting in Illinois.  Contact Paula at  pjlawson1@comcast.net or Jane at j.ballengee27@gmail.com.

As your local LWV plans your programming in the next year or two, we hope that you join LWVIL and LWVUS in promoting these critical reforms.  "We the People" can "make democracy work!"
MarchWomen's March to the Polls National Turnout Event
Are you joining us at the 2018 Women's March to the Polls on January 20?   We hope you e ncourage your fellow local league members and friends to march with LWVIL. Women and allies across the state will be raising our voice to celebrate the spirit and efforts of 2017 and focus on the 2018 elections.

Please RSVP to our Facebook event or send an email to info@lwvil.org to let us know you are attending with us. We will be meeting between 10:00 am and 10:30 am at the west side of Buckingham Fountain. Watch the LWVIL homepage for updates.

Please add our website address www.lwvil.org to any new signs you make to help drive interested people our way.

Also, use #LWVILMarchestothePolls to share your photos and stories before, during and after the event whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram! 

More information at  http://womens121marchonchicago.org/

CountyLWV-Jo Daviess County Winner of $10,000 USA EPA Challenge Prize

The U.S. EPA, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Standards and Technology, United States Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, put forth a challenge to submit proposals for the deployment of low-cost (less than $15,000) continuous nutrient sensors to address an important nutrient pollution water quality problem. READ MORE .

Is there news from your local League that you would like to share? Consider submitting an item to the LWVIL monthly E-News. Send it to info@lwvil.org
Remember to check out state and local League events on the LWVIL website calendar. 
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League of Women Voters of Illinois 
332 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 634 | Chicago, Illinois 60604
p. 312.939.5935 | f. 312.939.6887 | info@lwvil.org