From the President
Dear LWVIL Members,
When I "googled" Ida B. Wells one day last February anticipating the very real possibility that one or both of our US Senators wouldn't accept our invitation to speak at our State of the State event, I was merely thinking that a SOS program about Ida might be interesting. After all, Ida's life story as a suffragist, sociologist, writer, publisher, reporter, early leader of the civil rights movement, who "shined the light of truth" on lynching in America is powerful and compelling.
Now I'm pondering "intersectionality" and how our SOS program will "intersect" with so many of the challenging issues plucked from our state and country's headlines and yet tied to an enduring debate. Can the promise of equality for all under the Constitution really come to pass?"
"Intersectionality - the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage." A mouthful, for sure!
Here's why I ponder it when I think of that fortuitous "Google" search last February. It led me to Renee Ferguson, board member of the Ida B. Wells Society, whose mission it is to encourage people of color to pursue investigative journalism. Renee, Chicago Emmy award-winning investigative TV reporter (now retired) immediately accepted our invitation to speak about Ida B. Wells. She said, "Ida B. Wells has served as a powerful inspiration for my life and work as an investigative reporter. Her courage, her determination to give voice to women and marginalized people in face of threats to her personal safety have been my personal touchstone."
When I shared with Renee that one or both of our US Senators might be able to join us, she immediately told me how she and Senator Durbin had worked together in the late 1990's to change the policy and practices of US Customs agents that were found to be demeaning and discriminatory against women of color.
Senator Durbin confirmed in late August that he will be able participate in SOS. Renee will be interviewing the Senator as part of our SOS program. Goodness knows there are lots of "intersecting' issues to discuss with Senator Durbin: responses nationwide to the events of Charlottesville, efforts to extend the ratification deadline for the ERA, Department of Justice "consent decrees" affecting police departments including Chicago's, really so many!
It's going to be a compelling program that you won't want to miss!
Yours in League,
2017 State of the State Luncheon
Reservations for the 2017 State of the State Luncheon are coming into the League office and we want to make sure you don't miss what is certain to be a thoughtful and timely program:
Shining the Light of Truth; Keeping the Heat On.
We are grateful that
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin will join us. He, along with
Renee Ferguson, award-winning investigate reporter, will engage in a dialogue about how we can collectively ensure that racist policies and actions are uncovered and corrected at each level of government.
The theme of the 2017 program comes from a quote of
Ida B Wells who admonished us that "the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them."
This year's event will once again take place at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Lunch will be served at 12:00 noon.
Please send us your RSVP soon.
We hope you will consider purchasing a ticket or sponsoring a table. This event represent an excellent opportunity to i
nvite nonmembers and friends.
If you have difficulty registering, please feel free to call Mary Schaafsma, 312.929.5935 x-33 or
From the LWVIL Voter Service Committee
Sharon Alter, Vice President, Voter Service
Jan Dorner, Co-Chair
LWVIL and National Voter Corps (NVC)
LWVIL has joined six other state leagues - California, Kansas, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin - plus several other Illinois organizations to become part of the
National Voter Corps.
As a nonpartisan organization based in California, NVC is "working to promote high voter turnout and end unfair restrictions on voting in the United States."
The National Voter Corps website is
where LWVIL will be listed by National Voter Registration Day, September 26, 2017.
BallotReady Is LWVIL 2018 Primary and General Election Voter Guide
LWVIL used BallotReady as the 2016 LWVIL voter guide. Due to its success, LWVIL will again be using BallotReady for both the primary and general election in 2018. More information to follow.
Moderator Training Workshop in Chicago: Saturday, November 4
LWVIL-trained moderators moderate LWVIL-sponsored candidate forums and other events. For prospective moderators, this workshop is an opportunity to learn the nuts and bolts of moderating. For seasoned moderators, this is an opportunity to review moderating best practices.
, former LWVIL Voter Service Chair and seasoned trainer, will conduct this workshop from 9:30am to 1:30pm at
332 S. Michigan Avenue, Room 430
Building Conference Room, Chicago.
October 30is the deadline to register. To register, please send your (1) name, (2) the name of your local league, (3) your email address, and (4) phone number to
While space is limited, there must be a minimum of 10 Leaguers registered for the workshop. Lunch will be provided.
Update from our Very Busy LWVIL
Hilary Denk, Vice President, Issues
Heather Cunningham, Co-chair, Issues Committee
LWVIL Works to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
The ERA proposes that "equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any state on account of sex." Passed by both branches of Congress in 1972, the ERA needs 3/4 of the states (38) for it to be ratified and added to the US Constitution.
In March 2017, Nevada ratified the ERA which now needs two additional states for final ratification.
LWVIL is part of ERA Illinois working for ratification in Illinois. For that to occur, there must be a 3/5 majority vote of support in both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate. Once Illinois ratifies the ERA, one more state is needed to reach ratification by 38 states!
Recently, LWVIL President Bonnie Cox spoke on the ERA at an enthused rally in Bloomington-Normal (read Bonnie's reflection later in this E-News) and has participated in strategy calls with legislative leaders in Nevada who were recently successful. There is a statewide strategy coming from Illinois Legislative leaders; LWVIL ERA Issue Specialist Sharon Alter is working closely with them through the ERA Illinois coalition with the help of Co-Chair of Issues, Heather Cunningham. We will keep you posted as developments unfold. Watch for "Time for Action" alerts!
Another Criminal Justice Law Signed By Governor Rauner and Study Committee Starts Its Work
This session many criminal justice bills LWVIL supported became law. Just this last week, Governor Rauner signed HB303. The new law, PA 100-0512, reforms the Civil Asset Forfeiture Law by protecting innocent parties from the unfair seizure of their property. The government now must prove its right to take property. To enhance transparency, the Department of State Police shall establish and maintain on its official website a public database that includes annual forfeiture data for each law enforcement agency.
We are also excited to report the Criminal Justice Position Update Study Committee meets on September 28, 2017 for the first time to get the ball rolling. It's not too late to get involved! Contact
for more information.
Share Your Studies and Attend An Informative Conference!
LWVIL is a partner in the Transform Illinois Coalition and they are holding their 2017 Fall Conference & Transformer Awards, Celebrating Collaboration and Innovation in Government, on October 19 from 8:00 to 11:00 am at the ComEd Commercial Center in Oak Brook.
columnists Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene will lead a lively, interactive discussion as they share examples of government innovation from across the nation. If you have not registered yet, please do so at the following link:
All are invited and we'd love to have a group of at least 20 League members attending. Also, if you know about an exceptional group or individual doing work saving government dollars, please nominate them one of the
four Transformer Awards to be presented at the conference. The deadline for nominations is September 27, so please consider completing a brief nomination form at the Transform Illinois website (
In addition, Jane Ballengee is collecting your local League studies on governmental consolidation and shared services as the new Issues Specialist in this area of policy. Send them our way at
Upcoming Trainings and Events of Interest
Issues Specialists Reports
- CTBA Legislative Symposium is October 10, 2017. The focus is education funding. Tp register go to: http://conta.cc/2wJXIcS
- Civiclab P.O.W.E.R. Institute - Organizing 101 - October 11, 7-9 pm, Loyola University Law School, which is part of a series of trainings to empower citizens and train candidates. Info: http://bit.ly/2hmr4Io
- The Responsible Budget Coalition will hold a strategy and organizing training in Springfield on October 11, 2017. If you are not attending the LWVIL State of the State and would like to participate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get you registered. The graduated rate income tax amendment is a goal for the 2018 ballot and we need more volunteers to help spread the word.
for the September reports.
Bonnie Cox's reflections on the ERA
LWVIL President Bonnie Cox recently spoke on the ERA at an enthused rally in Bloomington-Normal. Here is the text:
The principles on which our government and our identity as Americans are based, are eloquently expressed in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."