This issue includes: President's letter, Women's March Coverage, State Budget Issues, and more!
February 2017
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President's Letter


My holiday indulgence this year was to read VICTORIA THE QUEEN by Julia Baird.  Baird has a PhD in History from the University of Sydney. She writes for a number of American publications including Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post. This is her first book.

Why, I wondered, do we need another biography of Queen Victoria? Baird makes the case that in many ways, Victoria was the forerunner of the modern woman – working mother of nine, single parent for most of her life, operating in a man’s world among ministers who did not know how to approach her. Likewise, Victoria evolved from a teenage queen-in-name who saw the monarchy as a means of escaping the dominance of a strong-willed mother to become a ruler who took control of government mechanisms to fashion the constitutional monarchy that continues today.

As a widow, Victoria gave and sought support from others who experienced the loss of a husband; she corresponded with Mary Lincoln and ninety English women who lost husbands in a tragic mine explosion. She developed strong bonds with her daughters when they lost their husbands and sons to war, illness, or childbirth. Victoria routinely visited veteran hospitals, gaining insights into foreign lands, conditions in the English army, and the status of medical institutions – information no minister could or would provide her.

This well-documented account answers my initial query: why another Victoria biography? She was not sympathetic to the suffrage movement; however, she faced the circumstances that women in high and low places experienced and still struggle with: raising a family alone, being accepted in a field long-dominated by men, leaving a legacy.  A good read in any era!

–Barbara Wysocki, LWVCC President

Upcoming Events

We hope to see you there!

 
  • Wednesday, 2/15/17 – Monthly Meeting: The Impact of the Lack of a State Budget on Culture and the Arts
    • Urbana City Council Chambers, 12:00 pm
 
  • Monday, 2/20/17 – Gun Violence and the Public Square
    • Station Theater, 7:00 pm
                                   
  • Wednesday, 2/22/17 – LWVCC Board Meeting
    • Urbana Free Library, 12:00 pm
 
  • Tuesday, 2/28/17 – Primary Election Day
    • Early voting is already underway!
 
  • Wednesday, 3/1/17 – Champaign City Council Candidate Forum, District 2 and District 5
    • Champaign City Council Chambers, 7:00 pm
 
  • Wednesday, 3/6/17 – Parkland College Board Forum
    • Parkland College, Cafeteria of the Student Union, 7:00 pm
 
  • Wednesday, 3/8/17 – Urbana Mayoral Candidate Forum, Urbana City Council Chambers, 7:00 pm
 
  • Wednesday, 4/4/17 –Equal Pay Day Rally in Chicago. More details later.
To stay updated on these events and more, connect with us on FaceBook or Twitter. 

LWV at the Women's March


Saturday, January 21st was a memorable day, no matter how you experienced it. The temperature was 65 degrees – pretty balmy by January standards. West Side Park was filled with 5,000 people – women, men, small children, veterans of numerous marches, students, crusaders for causes of every stripe and political persuasion.  What a display of democracy!  What an expression of our diversity!

And LWVCC was there too! 
Carolyn was in Chicago,                
Teresa and Chris were in Washington,
Holly (and Hazel), Mary, Krista, Susan, Naomi, Jenny, Kathy, Lynda and Barbara were in West Side Park.
 
If other League members were somewhere in the crowd and not included in the count, it’s only because moving around and touching base with individuals was just impossible. By any account, the March was a liberating experience; there was time to talk with women from Charleston and elsewhere, time to take in the variety of signs, time to listen to and cheer on speakers who shared their passion, their concerns, and their hopes. The March was a great way to get outside our respective comfort zones and respond as one. How we, as women, channel our energy as a result of this experience has yet to be determined but don’t think for a minute it ended at the edges of West Side Park.
 
 If you have pictures, send them to Krista (krista.evensen@gmail.com) and she’ll get them on League’s FB. They will also be included in our League archives.
Self-perpetuation is the first law of the legislature. 
LIFE Magazine 3/17/1910 – yes, 1910!

More Community Conversation
re The State Budget

 

After 5 months, there is still much to say and think about regarding the state of financial affairs in  Illinois.  At our February 15th meeting, we will explore the effects on local culture and the arts. Our panelists will be Geoffrey Bant, a member of the Urbana Free Library Board and the Library’s liaison to the Illinois Heartland Library System and Kelly White, Executive Director of 40 North.

Culture and the arts inevitably take heavy financial hits when budgets are tight or non-existent, despite the research that indicates that music, art, and literature all play important roles in human intellectual and social development. In ordinary times, funding for the arts is, at best, sporadic. These, however, are not ordinary times; schools are eliminating art and music programs, libraries are redefining themselves to serve communities in new ways with fewer resources.  Our guests will analyze the impact of the ongoing state budget crisis on local cultural institutions and programs and how the community is responding to these changes.

We will also use this meeting occasion to celebrate the birthday of one of our own.  Who is it?  You will need to come and find out.

DID YOU KNOW?

The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that Champaign County’s rural population is now at 25,558 – just 12% of the County’s total population.  A hundred years ago, more than half of the County’s population lived in rural areas.

Champaign County is an island surrounded by counties where the majority still live in rural areas: Iroquois has 71%, Piatt has 67%, Douglas has 61%, and Edgar has 51%.   At the other end of the spectrum, Cook and DuPage counties are now considered totally urban.

Women's History Quiz

 
 This year’s Women’s History Quiz focuses on 1sts because each of these achievements (and thousands more) validates the important role women play in our society. Answers can be found at the end of the Newsletter
1.    Winifred Mason Huck        A. the first president of LWVCC

2.    Janet Reno                        B. first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet

3.    Katherine Bigelow             C. first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

4.    Patricia Avery                    D. first woman appointed Attorney General of the U.S.

5.    Frances Perkins                E. first IL woman elected to the U.S. Congress

6.    Elizabeth Blackwell           F. first female chair of the Champaign County Board

7.    Ann Dunwoody                 G. first woman to win an Oscar for best director

8.    Ida B. Wells                      H. first woman to become a four star general

9.    Mrs. J. C. Utterback          I. first female doctor in the U.S.

10.  Sandra Day O'Conner      J. first woman to campaign against lynching

C-U Confronts Gun Violence


We’ve all been stunned by the amount of gun violence in our community and we’ve all experienced a kind of helplessness as we attempt to find remedies and/or solutions.  This spring, Station Theater – a long-time fixture in Champaign-Urbana  -- has stepped up to offer three productions to inspire conversation and facilitate a community response to this horrible scourge on friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. Here’s the line-up:

                  Monday – 2/20/17 – Topic: GUN VIOLENCE & THE PUBLIC SQUARE
                                    It’s Only Fair by David Dannenfelser
                                    Map of Chicago by Sally Parsons
 
                  Monday – 3/27/17 – Topic: GUNS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
                                    The Code by David Wilcox
                                    La Migra Taco Truck by Raquel Almazan
 
                  Monday – 4/3/17 – Topic: GUNS AND POLITICS
                                    Guns Don’t Kill by Theodore Kemper
                                    Young Gun by Maximillian Gill
 
Each evening offers two short productions that examine the night’s topic from different perspectives. The plays are short allowing time for discussion among the assembled audience.  The format encourages dialogue and better understandings among those assembled.
 
This semester’s offerings are a continuation of plays/discussion that began in the Fall.  Assisting in the production of this series is Dr. Nicole Anderson-Cobb. Nicole has many accomplishments to her credit: she lectures, writes for professional journals, teaches courses in racism and hate crimes. She also served on the Urbana study of police stops, and is currently president of the PTA at her daughter’s school. Nicole is now a newly-minted LWVCC member, and she has a long affiliation with Epsilon Epsilon  Omega, the black sorority at the UI.
 
This series of plays is a great opportunity to reach out to members of our community we might not ordinarily talk with. It’s time to get serious about a very painful topic.

Members in the Community

This past month, member Holly Wilper volunteered her time as a mentor for the Innovation Living-Learning Community's Extreme Entrepreneurial Lock-in. Below you will find her reflections regarding her participation in the event. Thanks, Holly!


On Saturday, Jan.28, I participated as a mentor for the Innovation Living-Learning Community’s Extreme Entrepreneurial Lock-in. This event, sponsored the by the Innovation LLC (a program of University of Illinois Housing) gives groups of students 24 hours to try to work out an innovation to address some problem or need that they see in society. The group had reached out to the League for mentors or judges for this years competion. My fellow mentors were Don Gerard, Gordy Hulton, and Matt Hiser

The topic for this year was democracy. The students were urged to think about criticisms that they might have seen of our democracy, including, but not limited to, wealth inequality and the role wealth plays in the political process, un/underinformed voters, barriers to voting and/or participating in democratic process, and negativity/dishonesty in the election process. They had to come up with an idea that was feasible, innovative, and marketable/sustainable.

As a mentor I came in after the students had been working on the problem for about seven hours. I worked with each of the four teams for about 30 minutes discussing their ideas, answering questions about what I thought could be improved, and helping them to plan the presentation for the judging the next day.

All of the groups wound up focused on voter education. They were interested in making sure that people knew how and where to register to vote, what was going to be on the ballot, and what each office was really responsible for. We had a lot of discussion about how to get people the information they need at the right time, how to give them enough information without overwhelming them, how to find unbiased information, and, of course, how to pay for the service or try to work to get the government to support it. My personal favorite idea was simply a non-profit devoted to the concept of making sure that communities were aware of the government services that were available for them, not by doing it all themselves, but by coordinating open houses where various services could be presented to communities in need.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the judging on Sunday, so I didn't get to see the final presentations, but I was very glad that I participated in this effort. As one of my fellow mentors said on the way out, it is always worth it to do these things because you see young optimistic people devoted to the effort to try to improve everyone's lives.

–Holly Wilper
Answers to Womens' History Quiz: 1-E, 2-D, 3-G, 4-F, 5-B, 6-I, 7-H, 8-J, 9-A, 10-C
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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The LWCC influences public policy through education and advocacy, working on various issues at local and national levels. League members come from all walks of life – united by our shared understanding of the importance of political literacy, we celebrate being non-partisan and diverse in our identities, affiliations, and experiences.

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