League of Women Voters of Oak Park & River Forest Newsletter March 2023 Volume 10 Issue 8

Co-Presidents' Letter

Dear Friends,

Although it didn’t come in like a lion, hello March! For some it is a month of reflection, while others recall the story of brave Queen Esther and nearly everyone dons a bit of green on St. Patrick’s Day. We all welcome Spring with its longer days and promise of new growth.

March is also Women’s History month, and this year’s theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Stories.  So while it's impossible to select a best or favorite, salutations to novelists like Alice Walker, Karen Blixen, Agatha Christie, Amy Tan, Joan Didion, Sandra Cisneros, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou for their brilliant stories. Thank you too to journalists like Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Nellie Bly, Ida B. Wells, Cokie Roberts, Ethel Payne, Martha Raddatz, Gwen Ifill, and Yamiche Alcindor for claiming space in the world of news. 

Although known for its work on voter rights, the League of Women Voters has many stories to tell as well. A few examples:

  • Following the passage of the 21st amendment, the League turned its attention to other issues impacting the lives of women. First was the alarming mortality rate for mothers and infants leading to the League’s first major legislative success, the passage of the Sheppard-Towner bill in 1921. The bill, the first federal grant-in-aid to states, created 3,000 child and maternal health centers across the country. 

  • Despite being considered an “improper” interest for women, the League began supporting the development of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1926. Although it did not take a stand on public versus private power, they believed the TVA could be used to study the respective benefits. In 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill, and the League received the last of the pens he used to sign the legislation. 

  • When fifty nations met in 1945 to discuss what would become the United Nations, the League was an active advocate, selling over 100,000 supportive pamphlets in a matter of weeks and training some 5,000 League members to “take the message to the people.” The League became the first, and remains, a United Nation’s non-governmental observer. 

  • In 1950, League member Dorothy Kenyon, a charismatic feminist, attorney, judge, and civil rights proponent, became the first person investigated by Joseph McCarthy for suspected anti-American activity. In the 1960s, the League worked for civil rights, and that decade also marks the beginning of the League’s environmental work. In 1970, the League began a major campaign to adopt the Equal Rights Amendment; men were granted League membership in 1974; and in 1976, the League was awarded an Emmy for the Presidential debate of 1976.

Yes, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. 

A hat-tip to our Voter Service chair, Peggy Kell, for once again successfully organizing this year’s candidate forums. It takes considerable time to arrange and skill to host these events, so thank you! 

Consistent with the League’s position in opposing school vouchers, we published a Letter to the Editor in the March 1 Wednesday Journal calling for an end to the Invest in Kids Act. Despite the friendly name, the Act diverts tax revenue from public schools and into private, including religious, ones. Please contact your legislator about the Act and thank you to Marilyn Pearson and Ann Courter for your help. 

Don’t forget to spring ahead one hour on Sunday, March 12, though there is truth in this anonymous quote: “Daylight saving time: Only a fool would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket!” 

In solidarity, 

Jane and Joan 

Candidate Forums

The next two Mondays are scheduled with Forest Park Candidate Forums. Today, Monday, March 6, starting at 7:00pm, will be the Mayoral Forum, followed at 7:45pm by the Commissioner Forum. Next Monday, March 13, will be our final candidate forum. The Proviso Township High School Board 209 Forum will start at 7:00pm. Please go to our website calendar to register for these Zoom events. Questions for theses candidates can still be submitted to the League email and will be also be accepted during the Zoom forums. Please share this information with neighbors and other organizations you belong to.

Great Decisions

Just a reminder that the Great Decisions Group at Maze Library is only meeting via Zoom. You can contact Alex Matthews or Carolyn Decoursey for the links to join the discussion. You can also visit the Foreign Policy Association website to order the readings, including downloadable e-books.

Drinks & Dialogue is Back!

After a 2-year hiatus, we are excited to announce a Drinks and Dialogue event in the back room at Shanahan’s Irish Bar & Creole Restaurant, 7353 W. Madison Street in Forest Park, on Thursday, March 30, at 6:30pm. The speaker will be Jan Goldberg, Cook County and LaGrange League Member and Chair of the Criminal Justice Interest Group. The topic is the SAFE-T Act, including the Pretrial Fairness Act, which became law on January 1 but was put on hold by a Kankakee County Judge. Please come and bring a friend for drinks and appetizers. RSVP Belinda Lutz-Hamel no later than March 23. We hope to see you there!


Would you like to be an local municipal board observer but don't know what it entails? You can learn more at a training session sponsored by LWV IL on Saturday, March 18, from 10:00-11:00am. You can register for this free virtual training here. You can read more about the importance of the League observer program here. And read the latest Observer Report from the February 27 Oak Park Village Board meeting here, thanks to Amber Elmer.

Abortion Rights and Access

On Monday, February 27, the ACLU held a Special Virtual Briefing on Abortion Rights and Access. The panel discussed the ACLU’s work following the Supreme Court’s devastating decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, including their most recent efforts in Springfield to pass the recently signed House Bill 4664. If you missed this event, you can re-watch it here.

One Earth Films

One Earth Film Festival is in progress. Read more about what is offered and when to watch here.

River Forest Members

Members of the LWV Cook County will be meeting with the new 9th District Cook County Commissioner Maggie Trevor on Friday, March 10, at 2:oopm, in her office downtown in the County Building. The 9th District takes in all of River Forest. Karin Hribar and Pris Mims from the Cook County and MWRD Government Groups will be asking the questions and taking notes as they introduce the County League to Commissioner Trevor and get to know her a bit. Please contact Pris Mims by Thursday, March 9, if you are interested and available to join them for this meeting. These discussions with the new Commissioners have proved to be very valuable to the League and our relationships with our elected officials.

LWV IL February Issues Briefing Recordings

LWV US Voting Update

League Calendar
LWV OPRF Board/Committee List
Editor Contact
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