LWVUS POSITION IN BRIEF
news AND developments
This summer, after the killing of George Floyd, anti-racism work in our local community became an important new action focus for the LWV-Wilmette community engagement team. Our focus over the past 6-9 months has been advocating for more explicit inclusion policies in our local government. As a result of our work, along with the work of others in the community:
Village Board Administration Committee Discusses Human Relations Commission Mission and Purpose, Selection of Members
at September 3 Meeting.
The Administration Committee of the Village Board had its 3rd meeting to review Village boards and commissions. The meeting focused on finalizing the purpose and function of the Human Relations Commission and starting its focus on the selection process for boards and commissions. The meeting packet also included a memo about appointment powers and a memo from the Village President about the current appointment process. The committee is asking for public comment from the community for improving the appointment process to be emailed prior to their September 17 meeting. For more details and links to the above referenced documents, read the Village Board section of our September 3rd Observer Report.
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.
At its recent national convention, the League of Women Voters of the United States passed a resolution reaffirming its stance against systemic racism. The LWV-Wilmette was one of the local leagues that signed on to support this statement. Read more here about the role of resolutions in the League, and the specific anti-racism resolution that was passed. For more information on the 2020 Resolutions Committee Report” from the LWV-US click here.
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.