Letter from the President
Telling the League story and how it excluded women of color.

As the League of Women Voters prepares to commemorate the 100th birthday of our organization this February 14th, 2020 and the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th amendment on August 26th 2020, it is vital that we have a complete understanding of the stories that have brought us to the present and work towards creating more inclusive stories that will shape the League in the future. 

It is a difficult truth to bear that on the journey to insure that women could vote and throughout the history of our organization, women of color have been left behind. It is well documented that the League made choices to marginalize and exclude women of color. The results of these choices are often silently represented in historical photos, including the famous photo taken at the 1913 parade of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, founder of the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago, famously refusing to go to the back of the parade where black suffragists were instructed to segregate themselves. These choices also had legislative impact that aided in a 50 year struggle before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 insured voting rights for all. 

Our own LWVUS past president, Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, the first and only African American president of our organization, passionately makes the case for League members to know and tell the full and accurate story of suffrage, including LWV's participation, so that we can learn from the lessons of past exclusions and create a future of inclusion. In February 2020, Dr. Jefferson-Jenkins will release her latest work, The Untold Story of Women of Color in the League of Women Voters . Through this well researched book, we will be able to appreciate the unabridged story of our organization in the context in which it occurred. 

In the words of Dr. Jefferson- Jenkins “Any organization that has endured for 100 years, certainly has a story to tell”. Let’s take time to explore the full history of suffrage by learning and researching the stories of Mary Church Terrell , Nannie Helen Burroughs , Delilah Beasley , Frances Ellen Watkins Harper , Addie Hunton and others. Let’s dig into our LWV history to help us better craft our future. Let’s be inclusive and equitable. Let's make a decision to be reflective of the nation in which we live and let us be a model for those who follow us. 

If you have a great story of the work of your local League, of some amazing League members, or your own story, please share them with us. If you have any questions about sharing your story, please reach out to LWVIL Board Member, Barb Laimins .

I am grateful for the comments and questions you share, Please continue!
League of Women Voters of Illinois 
100th Anniversary Theme is Announced
Congratulations to the TWO League members who helped to chose our theme.
Congratulations to Vicki Martin of LWV Palatine and Gilda Karu of LWV Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Buffalo Grove for submitting the winning theme for the LWVIL 100th Anniversary Commemorative Luncheon. And thank you to all of the League members and supporters who submitted their ideas.

The theme that has been chosen is....... (drum roll please)

Honoring our Past, Envisioning our Future
...We're Not Done Yet

Please continue to follow the LWVIL website and social media for additional information about the 100th Anniversary Commemorative Luncheon and other celebratory events during 2020.

And don't forget!  This committee welcomes additional members, so if you've recently stepped down from your local board or have retired from your full-time job and are looking for something really fun to do,  please consider joining us !
Time for Action
Contact your US Representatives and tell them to support the ERA!
On Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, the US House Judiciary Committee will mark up House Judiciary Resolution 79 (that replaces House Judiciary Resolution 38) that will remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. In June 1982, the ERA reached its original deadline without achieving the 38-state ratification requirement and the robust national fight for ERA ratification seemed to be over. However, with the perseverance of organizations like the League of Women Voters of Illinois, there is an encouraging resurgence of the women’s movement which has contributed to a renewed interest in the ERA including recent ratification in Nevada in 2017 and Illinois in 2018. To continue this fight for equal rights for women we must remove the deadline. Please contact your US Representatives from IL to encourage them to support H.J.Res. 79! R ead more in the ERA Biennium Report , written by League member, Sharon Alter. If you have questions about the ERA and LWVIL advocacy, reach out to the Issues & Advocacy Committee Co Chairs Jean Pierce and Rosemary Heilemann .
Veto Session Lobby Day was a SUCCESS
After we strike, we lobby for legislation.
On Tuesday, October 29th, LWVIL partnered with the Illinois Environmental Council for a Veto Session Lobby Day in support of the Clean Energy Jobs Act at the Capitol in Springfield. More than 500 supporters joined together to raise their voices in support of this important legislation that would boost energy efficiency, take advantage of the falling cost of wind and solar power, and implement electricity market reforms to protect Illinois consumers from higher energy costs. It is the only energy legislation in Springfield that could actually secure savings for consumers while significantly ramping up renewable energy development in the state. To learn more about what the League is doing about Climate Change, reach out to the Issues & Advocacy Committee Co Chairs Jean Pierce and Rosemary Heilemann .
Mark your Calendars for Giving Tuesday
Get ready for a global day of GIVING.
After gathering for Thanksgiving on Thursday, holiday shopping on Black Friday and finding great internet deals on Cyber Monday, let's plan to give back on Giving Tuesday. On Tuesday, December 3rd, LWVIL will be participating in this year's Giving Tuesday, a global giving movement built by individuals, families, organizations, businesses and communities in countries around the world and right here in Illinois. Millions of people will come together to support and champion the causes they believe in, like the voter education and issues advocacy of the League. The proceeds from this one day campaign will help to grow the work of LWVIL in anticipation of the 2020 Election cycle, the 2020 census and our continued work of empowering voters and defending democracy. Questions? Reach out to the LWVIL Offices .
Issues & Advocacy Updates
Here are some additional ways that you can make a difference and take action.
FAIR TAX AMENDMENT As you know, in spring 2019, the Illinois General Assembly approved a November 2020 ballot question to let the voters of Illinois decide whether to amend the constitution to permit taxing income at a graduated rate. For forty years, the LWVIL has been advocating for improved fiscal policy through a Graduated Rate Income Tax or Fair Tax structure. Please see the attached article to find out why we support it. Now we are almost there. 

What you can do to help the campaign:
Lend your name as an Endorser
Endorsers are respected people your community (like League members) who support the Fair Tax amendment. Please take a minute to complete and submit the attached form. 

Consider becoming a Champion (Spokesperson)  
Champions will receive training and resources to present programs in the community, write letters to the editor, and activate their local leagues and partners around Fair Tax. 

Please contact Jean Pierce for more information and to discuss becoming involved.
Thursday, December 5, 2019  9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Shriver Center on Poverty Law

Affordable housing was identified as the top issue local Leagues wanted to focus on in 2020. LWVIL is fortunate to have a number of members with extensive experience --from the policy and legislative arena, to fair housing enforcement, local housing commissions, and those in the development of affordable housing.   

Join us in the first of a series of workshops designed to support your local efforts to bring affordable housing to your communities. At this meeting you will:
  • Learn about the status of affordable housing in our communities, the obstacles we face, and what some local Leagues have been doing to raise the profile on this issue;
  • Be updated on the status of legislative initiatives to strengthen Illinois' affordable housing law;
  • Receive a toolkit with background materials and resources on affordable housing, and training on a blueprint for approaching this issue in your community. 

RSVP is required.  If you have any questions or to RSVP, contact Sheri Latash (LWV Glenview-Glencoe) at 847-309-3905 no later than December 1, 2019. 
Monday, December 9, 2019 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at LWVIL Offices
LWVIL will be participating in the LWVUS People-Powered Fair Maps Campaign and will concentrate its work on having the Illinois General Assembly pass the Fair Maps Amendment. The Fair Maps Amendment provides for an independent commission to draw legislative districts instead of state legislators as defined in the Illinois Constitution. If this constitutional amendment passes both the Illinois House and Senate by May 3, 2020, it will be placed on the November 2020 General Election Ballot, giving voters a say in changing the redistricting process.
LWVIL will kick off the campaign with a training session for local League representatives on December 9 in the LWVIL office (332 S. Michigan, Suite 634, Chicago). Participants will get basic information and other useful tools and materials.
RSVP is required . RSVP to Paula Lawson  no later than December 4. If you would like to get more involved with redistricting, join the LWVIL Google Group .
2020 CENSUS LWVUS and LWVIL support a fair and accurate census because it is required by the Constitution, directs how congressional district lines are fairly drawn and determines how federal resources are allocated. The federal government uses census-derived data to direct at least $800 billion annually in federal assistance to our communities. For every person uncounted, Illinois would lose at least $1500 per person, for the next ten years. The data also guide important community decisions affecting schools, housing, health care services, business investment, and much more. Those in danger of not being counted include children under 5, adults under 30, the elderly, immigrants, refugees and lower income wage earners. This is also the first "modern" census since the data will be collected on-line through a digital portal. This change presents special challenges and opportunities.

What your local League can do to support a fair and accurate Census:

Hold a public information forum. Contact  LWVIL Issues & Advocacy Committee  if you require help finding speakers. Hilary Denk and Siobhan Greene , LWVIL Issue Specialists for the the 2020 Census, can speak and give ideas for additional speakers. At least 8 local Leagues have already hosted local events that include local leaders, chairs of Complete Count Committees, and experts from Common Cause, YWCA and the US Census Bureau.

Join a Complete Count Committee or designate a member to attend CCC meetings. Find out more about CCCs and how to get involved by visiting the US Census website . An easy first step to contribute to the CCCs work is to offer to host informational meetings to spread the word and/or share information through your newsletter, website, social media at local meetings. You can share an informational flyer and a stylized flyer at these events. You can find additional resources at the Illinois Count Me in Coalition , that LWVIL is a member of, and the US Census Bureau . If you would like to have a direct link on your web page to the US Census Bureau, you can email a reques t.  

Please stay on the look out for a Letter to the Editor that will be available in early January. It will be similar to one recently sent by LWV Rockford . Questions? Reach out to Census Issue Specialists, Hilary Denk and Siobhan Greene .
100th Anniversary Articles
Share the League history in your local League newsletter, as a press release and so much more!
The 100th Anniversary has been hard at work creating some fun, easy and educational ways for the 41 local Leagues of LWVIL to celebrate this commemorative birthday. Please check out the 100th Anniversary Tool Kit on the LWVIL website that includes lots of great information, especially the 100th Anniversary articles that have been researched and written by League members and 100th Anniversary committee members, Lori Osborne and Marge Massarello. These articles can be used in your local League newsletter, on your website, as press releases to your local media and even help in reaching out to your local history museum and/or library to start discussions about partnering for an exhibit. The latest article is "War of the Roses" about the “battle” of the Roses in Tennessee in 1920 in the vote to pass the 19th Amendment. If you have any questions about the 100th anniversary committee, tool kit or articles, please reach out to 100th Anniversary Chair Mary Kubasak.
Mark your Calendars
Upcoming Community Events featuring LWVIL
Local League Spotlight
LWVIL Local Leagues are doing amazing things in their communities.
LWV Chicago 's President Annie Logue was recently featured on WBEZ's Curious Chicago radio show, to discuss the impact of the work of Ida B. Wells on Chicago and her importance to the fight for women's right to vote for all. Earlier this year Congress Parkway was renamed to Ida B Wells Drive, an initiative spearheaded by LWV Chicago.
LWV Glen Ellyn recently joined forces Glenbard High School District 87’s Glenbard Parent Series (GPS) to present author Julissa Arce and her latest novel, My Underground American Dream , that tells the tale of Arce's journey from Mexico to Texas at age 11 to becoming a Wall Street Vice President at Goldman Sachs. League co-presidents Erica Nelson and Kristin Malone cultivated the League/GPS match starting last Spring. “One of our goals as co-presidents is to partner with other non-partisan organizations,” noted Malone. “Being partners conveys a good message to our community in these very divisive times.” Added Nelson, “By partnering with GPS, the League's outreach and support encourages more community members to hear nationally known GPS speakers series in our local community."
On Thursday, September 19, LWV Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area , in partnership with the Adlai Stevenson Center for Democracy , hosted "An Evening with David Axelrod" at the Gorton Center in Lake Forest. Mr. Axelrod, a veteran of politics and journalism, and the former chief strategist and senior advisor to President Barack Obama, currently serves as director of the University of Chicago's non-partisan Institute of Politics and as the host of The Axe Files , a podcast jointly produced by CNN and his institute. Mr. Axelrod was interviewed in front of a sold-out audience by Brandis Friedman of WTTW Channel 11, Chicago’s PBS affiliate station. A video of this event is available on the  League website.
Important Dates to Remember

Please note that this list of important dates is not exhaustive.
Get Involved
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Take Action
Issues & Advocacy
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