LWVUS POSITION IN BRIEF
news AND developments
Village Board Administration Committee to Discuss Human Relations Commission Mission and Purpose, Selection of Members
September 3 at 6:30 p.m.
The League continues to monitor the work of the Board of Trustees Administration Committee as they consider the reinstatement of the Housing and Human Relations Commissions, and the process for appointing and selecting commission members. Feedback from the community is welcomed and encouraged. Public comment can be emailed to the committee or made in the YouTube chat during the meeting. The meeting packet includes reports bout the current appointment process from the Village Manager, Village President and Corporation Counsel. Instructions for participating remotely can be found on the Village website by clicking here.
LWV-W Hosts Virtual Film Screening and Discussion
The Color Tax: Origins of the Modern Day Racial Wealth Gap
Recording Now Available
On August 26, more than 100 people attended a free virtual film screening and discussion of The Color Tax: Origins of the Modern Day Racial Wealth Gap, an eye-opening documentary examining how Black communities in Chicago were drained of wealth through homeownership "contracts" in the 1950s and 60s. This 40-minute film is an early release from the Shame of Chicago series produced by Chicago native and Artist in Residence at Duke University Bruce Orenstein.
After the screening the LWV-W hosted a 45-minute panel discussion about the important history examined by the film and the role of Chicago’s suburbs in historical housing discrimination featuring filmmaker, Bruce Orenstein; Dr. Clinton Boyd, Jr., a Postdoctoral Associate in the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University; and former Village of Wilmette Board of Trustees President John Jacoby. View their biographies here.
Although the film is not yet available for public viewing, a recording of our panel discussion is now available to download. This article, "Race and Real Estate" from Loyola University Chicago also discusses many of the issues addressed in the film.
Village Board Considers Future of Commissions
At its July 30 meeting, the Village Board Administration Committee indicated their intention to recommend to the full Village Board the reinstatement of the Housing and Human Relations Commissions. The Committee will also recommend what the charters and composition of each commission should be. A video recording of the meeting is available here.
As outlined in our letter to the committee, the League supports reinstating both commissions and seeing them appropriately chartered to tackle the pressing issues of affordable housing and make Wilmette a more welcoming and inclusive community.
Additional comment from community members can be found in the July 30th meeting packet.
Our Message to the Wilmette Park Board
On July 12, LWV-W made a public comment to the Park Board of Commissioners encouraging them to make a public statement affirming their commitment to the diversity and inclusion values of Wilmette as well as reviewing their mission statement, expanding it to include people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. Further we suggested they review their policies to ensure they support an expanded mission.
Working In Our Village: Village Board
In response to the Wilmette Board of Trustees message to the community , we are advocating for the demonstration of values through concrete action, including reinstating the Housing Commission to accelerate efforts in creating substantial amounts of permanently affordable housing in Wilmette.
Walking for Justice, Registering Voters
LWV-W members registered voters and joined with community members to stand in solidarity against racism at the Wake Up Wilmette March Against Racism on June 13th and at rallies in Winnetka and Evanston on June 6th and 7th. We plan to attend future events to help ensure every eligible citizen is able to exercise their right to vote. Contact Jen Manning to learn how you can help.
The League of Women Voters of Wilmette is committed to listening, to educating ourselves, and to taking action to become anti-racist, in order to help fight racism in our own Village, surrounding suburbs, and the City of Chicago.
Recently at the National Convention, the League of Women Voters passed several resolutions. Resolutions are a way for the LWV to reaffirm a commitment to an existing position or to provide specificity to an existing position. Resolutions must be consistent with LWVUS programs and priorities, must address a single topical issue where the LWV is likely to be able to have an impact and has the resources to do so, and require time-sensitive federal governmental action. Resolutions are not a substitute to the program planning that the League undertakes to set priorities (every year at the local level and every two years at the state and national level) but rather function in addition to that process to augment the work of the League prioritizing its Program.
Resolutions can provide the necessary umbrella position under which local leagues undertake their work as sometimes existing League positions are broad and do not specifically relate to emerging issues. They also provide a public signal of LWV intention and priority. The three resolutions passed at the LWVUS National Convention involved: (1) immigration reform; (2) environment; and (3) systemic racism. The LWV-Wilmette was one of a number of local leagues that signed on to support the resolution on systemic racism which states:
The League of Women Voters of Missouri, in conjunction with 20 state Leagues and 27 local Leagues, proposed an emergency resolution that the League of Women Voters advocates against systemic racism in the justice system and, at a minimum, for preventing excessive force and brutality by law enforcement. We also call for prompt actions by all League members to advocate within every level of government to eradicate systemic racism, and the harm that it causes. We resolve second, that the League help our elected officials and all Americans recognize these truths to be self-evident; that Black, Indigenous and all people of color (BIPOC) deserve equal protection under the law; and that we demand solutions for the terrible wrongs done, so that regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and gender identity or sexual orientation we may truly become a nation "indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
The LWV-Wilmette will provide updates to LWVUS on our anti-racism work and will look forward to learning what local leagues around the country are undertaking in this area. We look forward to seeing the change that the power of our nationwide organization can help to drive.
Member Resources: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The LWV-US is beginning to shift the culture of the League by developing and implementing its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy. To educate League members, they have made myriad trainings and webinars available working with diverse partnerships and striving to become more thoughtful allies.
How To Be A Good Ally At Protests
Good allies follow the lead of impacted people and use their privilege to help support impacted people’s goals and protect those who are vulnerable. Good allies do not take it personally or get offended when told that their help is not needed or wanted. Good allies show up and make themselves available to help where it's needed. Read more advice from the League of Women Voters of the United States.
"White Fragility" Presentation
On June 12, Family Action Network presented a virtual discussion with Robin DiAngelo, author of "White Fragility: Why Is It So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism." Dr. DiAngelo was interviewed by Dr. Marcus Campbell, Assistant Superintendent and Principal at Evanston Township High School. Thank you to FAN for making this valuable presentation available.
How Can You Work for Racial Justice In Our Community?
In a recent letter, LWV Illinois and former LWV Wilmette President Allyson Haut, outlined suggestions for working for racial justice in our own community. Read Allyson's letter here.
Anti-racism Reading List
As an initial step in the education process, we offer a few compilations of recommended reading lists:
Other community engagement news
Know Your Local Government
The LWVW has put together a short presentation to test our knowledge of our local government and answer some commonly asked questions. We presented this information to our membership on January 29th and want to make it available to members who were not able to attend and to the public. Members of the Community Engagement and Education action focus team are available to give this interactive presentation to community groups who might be interested. Please contact Kate Gjaja if you would like to discuss having the LWVW come to inform your group and answer questions about our local government.