Speak Out

Coming April 1, 2020, and Back by Constitutional Demand: The National Census 2020


By Beverly George,
ACE Leader


“Get Out the Count!”

Sound familiar? This is the slogan for the national U.S. Census to be taken April 1, 2020. Preparation has already begun, and this Speak Out explains why a complete and accurate census is vital to our democracy.

If you’ve been following the news, last week U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman of New York ordered the Trump administration to stop its plan to add the citizenship question to the census form. The administration is asking the Supreme Court to hear its appeal soon. In his ruling, Judge Furman admonished Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for not heeding the advice of career professionals who warned that adding the question would result in much lower counts in densely populated areas.

Has a citizenship question ever been used on past census forms?

According to “Fact Check: Has Citizenship Been A Standard Census Question?” by NPR’s Tamara Keith, the census has been conducted every decade since 1790 to get the required headcount for deciding the national distribution of congressional representation. Originally taken by U.S. Marshals, the U.S. Postal Service took on the task as population grew.

In 1950, there was a census question asking where each person was born followed by the statement, “If foreign born—is he naturalized?” In 1960, there was no question about citizenship (the follow-up question in 1950), but there was the question about place of birth. In 1970, the Census Bureau sent a short form to all households seeking basic population information. They also sent long forms to one-sixth of American households, asking questions ranging from household income to plumbing, so five out of six households did not receive the long form.

Questions about citizenship were included in the long form beginning in 1970, but not the short form. For example, in 2000, citizens who received the long form were asked, “Is this person a CITIZEN of the United States?”

Later the census bureau added the American Community Survey, which is conducted every year and sent to 3.5 million households. It asked many of the same questions as the census long-form surveys from 1970 to 2000, including the citizenship question.

In 2010, the short form had no questions about citizenship. In 2020, there will be 11 questions on the census form. At this writing, there will be no citizenship question.

2020 Census

Responding to the U.S. Census is critical to maintain a robust democracy for several reasons, including the following.

  • An accurate and complete survey of U.S. population distribution provides for accurate congressional districting and representation.
  • An accurate and complete survey also determines how many Electoral College votes a state has. Like it or not, the Electoral College is still a part of the U.S. Constitution.
  • When a state or district applies for SNAP funds or other government programs, accurate and complete survey data is essential to meet the needs of diverse, local populations.

For the first time, there are three ways to respond to the 2020 Census—paper form, on the web, or on your mobile phone.

If you’re wondering how homeless people are counted, there will be “boots on the ground” census takers with iPads to gather this data. There also will be census takers on reservations because many Native Americans don’t have individual mailing addresses by house number and street. Young people, ages 18-24 years old, are also labeled as hard to reach in the census count because they often don’t open their snail mail, nor do they read their email. In every case, the census wants to count once and count accurately where individuals reside on Census Day, April 1st, 2020.

Census data is protected (that is, not removed or erased) for 72 years for genealogy purposes, and the president, ICE, and the FBI will not have access to census data, according to Census Bureau representatives.

Illinois is a diverse state, and the census bureau plans to adapt to that. The online form will be available in 12 languages. Efforts are being made now to partner with trusted community groups to message the importance and the how-tos of taking part in the census. There will be heavy recruitment for these six-month jobs, which will pay between $13 and $21per hour. If you’re interested, visit https://www.census.gov/about/regions/chicago/jobs/all.html.

The Census window extends from March 16, 2020 through April 30, 2020, and the official Census Day is April 1st. The census has real impact on real people via representation, and government assistance to states for SNAP, ESL programs, and more. The goal is to count everyone once and accurately. With the guaranteed cacophony of primary election news breaking daily in early 2020, it’s important that we keep beating the U.S. Census drum loudly to #GetOutTheCount!


ACE Leader Beverly George also is a member of Indivisible, the Naperville League of Women Voters, and the Citizens Climate Lobby. She also volunteers with her parish PADS group. A former chemist, George worked in clinical chemistry and hematology research at the Centers for Disease Control for six years and taught chemistry and freshman science at Naperville North High School for 20 years.




Trump Administration Proposes to Weaken Yet Another EPA Rule


By Dale Bryson, 

Former Senior Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently came out with a new rule called the “Waters of the U.S. Rule,” which, naturally is designed to do away with another very important thing former President Barack Obama did. To appreciate what has happened, let me give you a bit of background.

When I was head of the entire water program in EPA Region 5, I denied a permit to the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County where they wanted to fill in a 500+ acre wetland up by Barrington by creating a new garbage landfill there. I denied the permit for three main reasons. First, the large wetland fed water into the Fox River through the groundwater, which we had verified by tracer studies. To fill it in with garbage would add pollution to the headwaters of the Fox River. Second, there was a major black heron rookery in the wetland that would be destroyed. There are only three or four such rookeries left in Illinois. Third, this wetland was a major stop for migrating birds as they headed south for the winter.

That Solid Waste Agency sued the EPA over the permit denial. We won in the Federal District Court. The Solid Waste Agency appealed to the Federal District Court of Appeals where we won again. The Solid Waste Agency then appealed to the Supreme Court. At the same time, another wetlands case, this one from Michigan, went to the Supreme Court as well. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court agreed with the Solid Waste Agency and the Michigan firm. The majority opinion was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the most conservative judge, who wrote a quite harsh opinion that included a couple of lines that basically would, if left standing, allow the destruction of most wetlands and would remove Federal protection of millions of miles of rivers in the U.S.

Under the Bush administration and then the Obama administration, the EPA and the Corps of Engineers spent 10 years developing a new definition of what rivers and wetlands would have Federal protection from pollution and filling in. They held over 200 public meetings, reviewed over a million comments, and then came out with the new rule in 2015. It was approved by the Federal Courts.

That brings me to the Trump administration and their new rule, which basically destroys all of the Obama rule. For example, 51% of the wetlands in the U.S. will now be fully open for filling in for development. Over 18% of the U.S. rivers will no longer be protected, which affects 30% of the population who get their drinking water in part from those rivers.


One of largest development companies on the East Coast was quoted yesterday saying, ‘We love it.  Now we can build anywhere!’


To give you a specific example, near the Potbelly restaurant on Diehl Road is a huge wetland. Diehl Road makes a curve around that lake/wetland. Again, on my watch at the EPA, Cantera Development wanted Diehl Road to go straight through the wetland and maybe fill in part of it for development. I denied their permit application because that is the largest wetland left in DuPage County and for other reasons. I insisted they go around the wetland. We won. They built a curved road, and the wetland was protected. That could all change now. Under this proposed rule by the Trump administration, they would allow the wetland to be filled in and apartments or a strip mall to be built there.

Why is that wetland on Diehl so important? It has a berm that separates it from the river. When the river floods, the water flows into the wetland thereby becoming a huge reservoir for water, thereby protecting from flooding downstream. Under the Trump rule, for a wetland to be protected, it must have a direct connection to a river and that connection must have water flowing into the river 100% of the time. This wetland has flows to the river, but they are through the groundwater.  Under the Trump rule, that does not count as a wetland that needs protection.

Think of all the small wetlands you pass as you drive to, say, Whitewater, Wisconsin.  Those are called “isolated wetlands.” Even though they are crucial to replenishing the groundwater, under the new rule they can be drained and/or filled in because they have no direct connection to a river. All of the “prairie potholes” in eastern South Dakota and North Dakota (where 50% of the migratory wildfowl reproduce) would also lose their protection.

One of the national farm organizations came out with a statement saying this new rule is just what they want so that they can “drain all these small swamps!” One of largest development companies on the East Coast was quoted yesterday saying, “We love it.  Now we can build anywhere!”

The National Resource Defense Council, Earth Justice, the Sierra Club, and many others will contest this new outrageous rule. Let us hope they prevail, and that the wetlands and rivers of this country will be protected!


Though retired now, Dale Bryson was a senior manager of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He was in charge of all water programs, including water pollution control, water protection, safe drinking water, and wetland protection.


The Trouble with ‘Midterms’


By Dawn DeSart
ACE Campaigns and Candidates Team Leader
Candidate for DuPage County Board, District 5

There’s a problem with “midterms.” No, not the elections themselves, but with the moniker of midterms. The word sounds like “halftime,” as in “halftime” during a football game, when you get up off your La-Z-Boy®, stretch, maybe use the restroom, maybe grab another beverage, and relax a bit until the thrill of the game begins again for the second half.

The midterm election, especially this midterm election on November 6th, is too important to be shrugged off as halftime between when 45 was elected and when (God willing) he is replaced in 2020. This midterm, voters have the opportunity to change the faces in Congress to reflect most Americans’ values, to elect people who will stand up to and call out 45’s egocentric agenda.

What’s at stake? Political commentator and radio host, Thom Hartmann, characterizes the nation’s political sides this way. “In 2018, being a conservative means being in favor of rich people and corporations running the country,” he says. “Being a progressive means you are in favor of ‘We, the People’ running the country.”

The upcoming midterms are our shot at taking back control of the House and the Senate, allowing “We, the People” to once again lead this great country.

Tired of the hatred? Me, too! The vitriol and negativity spewed by this president is utterly exhausting. Christian pastor and author, John Pavlovitz, writes on his blog that “we don’t need to convince or coddle or win over hatred, and we don’t need to outdo it either. We need to outnumber it. We need to outlove it. We need to outvote it.”

The midterms on November 6th is our opportunity to vote it out.

But, what’s in a name? I was reminded of how weak midterms sounds when I heard radio host Norman Goldman call the upcoming election the “congressional election.”

Yes! Now that’s powerful!

November’s “congressional election” is vital to elect brave, ethical leaders who will work toward affordable healthcare, education, jobs and wages, and clean energy. People who will not use our valuable resources toward things that don’t benefit real people, like the Space Force and the Wall.

Congressional elections matter now more than ever!

This is not halftime, this is act time!

Time to get up out of your La-Z-Boy® and act, march, volunteer, make calls on behalf of candidates, register to vote, donate, talk to your friends and neighbors, and most of all, vote on November 6th.

Vote in this congressional election, as if your country is at stake.

Because it is.


A five-time Emmy Award winner, Dawn DeSart is a journalist and local activist. She is running for the DuPage County Board, District 5, and has previously held positions on the Indian Prairie School District 204 School Board, the Wheatland Township Democrats, and the Fox Valley United Way. In 2000, then Naperville mayor A. George Pradel declared May 9th as “Dawn DeSart Day” in Naperville. For more information on Dawn, visit her website.

Distraction from the “Chaos Dark and Rude”: A Parting Gift to Americans from Senator John S. McCain


By Beverly George, ACE Leader


I found hopeful distraction last week in the celebration of the good and rich life of Senator John S. McCain, Republican from Arizona, who served with love, honor, and responsibility to country over political party.

He was eulogized across the nation and in its capitol eloquently and gracefully with shared stories from personal friends, political friends and opponents, and by his loving family.

His biography showed that while he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis, his spirit was fired in the crucible of war, which included five years of imprisonment and torture in the POW camp infamously named the Hanoi Hilton. The experience left him with the scars of battle and torture that he carried with him always, but it also left him with fierce convictions of what was right and what was wrong. While he often had strong words of dissent with his opponents, he never failed to apologize when he felt he had been harsh or wrong, and was always anxious to mend fences in order to move forward together.

Having served his country in war, in the House and Senate, and his family and friends in his personal life, his life’s work reflected the heart of America. His life was evidence of all that was, and still is, right with America.

Watching his funeral on September 1, a TV reporter mentioned the “Navy Hymn” would be played at the opening of the service and quoted a phrase, “the restless wave,” from the opening lines of both versions, the original 1861 version and the 1940 version used today.*

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

I read through both versions and noted the 1861 version, second stanza, opens with the following.

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;

Those four lines ring sadly true of our country today, and, to me at least, the “peace” is that which so many of us are seeking from the current state of fear, hate, and resulting “chaos dark and rude.”

Today our country is not at peace with itself. It is not at peace with our age-old allies. To me, it has lost its moral compass and is careening wildly. But John McCain’s funeral, resonating often and literally with his own words, leaves us with the hope and the fire necessary to restore the peace, equilibrium, and shared humanity I believe we all seek.

After a storm, the restless wave does find peace. The next opportunity to find this peace for our nation will come on November 6, 2018.


* The original lyrics from 1861 compose a prayer, in many verses, for sailors lost at sea. The hymn was rewritten in 1940 to include soldiers on land, sea, and air. My source for this essay was Wikipedia, which presented two verses from each version. The Naval Academy publishes numerous verses for the 1861 version.

Navy Hymn–1861 version (for sailors lost at sea)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.


Navy Hymn–1940 version (for soldiers on Land, Sea, and Air)

Almighty Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.
O Christ, the Lord of hill and plain
O’er which our traffic runs amain
By mountain pass or valley low;
Wherever, Lord, thy brethren go,
Protect them by thy guarding hand
From every peril on the land.

O Spirit, whom the Father sent
To spread abroad the firmament;
O Wind of heaven, by thy might
Save all who dare the eagle’s flight,
And keep them by thy watchful care
From every peril in the air.
O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them whereso’er they go,
Thus evermore shall rise to thee
Glad praise from air and land and sea.


ACE Leader Beverly George also is a member of Indivisible, the Naperville League of Women Voters, and the Citizens Climate Lobby. She also volunteers with her parish PADS group. A former chemist, George worked in clinical chemistry and hematology research at the Centers for Disease Control for six years and taught chemistry and freshman science at Naperville North High School for 20 years.




Trump-Pence Gag Rule Blocks Women from Getting the Health Care They Need


By Paloma Arroyo
Planned Parenthood Illinois Action


The Trump-Pence administration is at it again.

They’re trying to block patients from coming to Planned Parenthood. However, the latest attack is much bigger than Planned Parenthood. This new rule would be radical departure from the way health care has operated in the United States up until now.

On Tuesday, May 22nd, at a reception for the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization known for their extreme anti-choice agenda, President Donald Trump announced he would be making changes to a decades-old federal family planning program, Title X. The changes are a gag rule. Period.

The gag rule would do four main things.

1. Impose new rules designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.

2. Prevent health care providers across the country — including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers — from referring their patients for safe, legal abortion.

3. Remove the guarantee that patients get full and accurate information about their health care from their doctors.

4. Remove the requirement that contraception be medically approved and that providers ensure access to full range of birth control.

This is a direct attack on women’s basic rights.

Established in 1970, Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with low incomes access to comprehensive family planning. Title X ensures people have access to contraception and gives them more control over their lives, health, careers, and economic security.

In Illinois, there are 95 Title X sites, 17 of which are Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) health centers. While PPIL makes up only 18% of total Title X providers in the state, PPIL serves 42%, or 43,950, of Title X patients in Illinois. Blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood means that many of these people would go without care because Planned Parenthood is the only Title X health care provider in their community. In Illinois, there are six counties—LaSalle, Macon, McLean, Peoria, Sangamon, and Tazewell—where PPIL is the only Title X provider.

It gets much worse. Nationally, there are 4,000 Title X health centers, and this gag rule would block federal funding from going to any US health clinic that so much as mentions abortion as an option for women. This means that many community health centers, hospital-based clinics, and health departments would also be gagged from giving patients full and accurate information about all of their options.

This is detrimental for the state of Illinois.

If Planned Parenthood were excluded from Title X, all other types of Title X-funded sites in Illinois would have to increase their contraceptive client caseloads by 73 percent to serve the women who currently obtain contraceptive care from Planned Parenthood health centers. For example, in DuPage County, PPIL’s Aurora Health Center serves 75% of patients that access contraceptive care from a publicly funded health center.

This gag rule would fall the hardest on people of color.

Because of systemic inequities, many patients who rely on Title X for their health care needs are people of color, who already face significant barriers to accessing health care. About 21 percent of Title X patients identify as Black or African American and 32 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino. After being blocked from these health centers, including Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere else to go for care.

How can you fight back? 

The proposed rule was officially published in the Federal Register on Friday, June 1. The 60-day comment period is open now and will conclude on July 31.

1. Post a comment for HHS here
2. Text TITLEX to 22422
3. Share your Planned Parenthood story
4. Volunteer: email palomaa@ppil.org for opportunities to get involved
5. Social media: #NoGagRule #StandWithPP

Paloma Arroyo is a grassroots organizer with Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, and Planned Parenthood Illinois PAC.