For First Time In 30 Years, Illinois Woman Registers To Vote In 2020

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For First Time In 30 Years, Illinois Woman Registers To Vote In 2020

Valerie Weiskirch is not a name most Americans would know. But as the creator of the “Midlothian Valerie” brand, Weiskirch clearly made a name for herself as a reliable journalist working a local circuit, centered around the community of Midlothian, Illinois. Say her name in the southwest suburbs and many government officials, business owners and residents will know exactly who she is, but it is the enduring legacy of her past political compositions that continues to amaze her the most.

“I remember years of my daytime and nighttime blending into a 24/7 blur of grey, with an occasional moment of such crystal clarity and asking myself why I was working so hard to produce original materials without a paywall or a paycheck. But it still is all about those moments where I will get a phone call from someone who read something I wrote 10 years ago and it just hits me right in the gut that I was right on with my efforts and my decisions, despite the poverty upon my own shoulders.”

Because of these types of civic efforts, Weiskirch is no stranger to tense political situations. Weiskirch, a divorced mother of two adult sons, has stood up against public policies and procedures affecting her and her family for well over 15 years. Weiskirch successfully pushed for the Midlothian municipal code book to be published online, led the charge to repeal an unconstitutional law making it illegal to “disguise your sex” based on your clothing, revealed and reported on numerous corrupt activities from government and was the first to post videos of public board meetings that were never before available to be seen.

“I have never really cared much who was in office because simply put, my beliefs and positions are not going to change with the political winds of an election,” Weiskirch says. “Once an election was over, I would simply go back to the drawing board and ponder how to approach the current people holding office to move something forward.”

Weiskirch believes one element of her effectiveness in local politics has been the fact that she hasn’t voted in 30 years. “One standard I have for anyone wanting my vote is that someone absolutely must not put up the obstruction of the faulty and flawed argument that if you don’t vote, you can’t speak about your grievances.”

“In some ways, I have felt like I have been operating ‘undercover’ for these past 30 years, taking the steps defined in these various law books to file grievance, being dismissed for one reason or another and then my walking away while scribbling down their names and the grounds for their rejection in my memory. Too bad if anyone doesn’t like it but I am not voting for someone who only cares about me when they need my voice. I don’t work that way in politics, or in life.”

Weiskirch has been anything but silent about her refusal to vote. She has put it in blog posts, battled it out on social media over the years and even her close friends have presented quality arguments against her position.

“Not one sliver of an argument presented to me over the years was sufficient enough to motivate me to suspend my protest, until now. And while the argument comes from my own belief system, this is not an easy shift to make. I don’t like thinking that politicians are talking to me because they want my vote and this time around, there will be those hoping to persuade me to cast a ballot in their favor. In fact, within 48 hours of my requesting an application, the robocalls started with ‘As a voter, we’d like to know your thoughts’. Funny how we can put ourselves on a do not call list if it’s a corporation, but if it has to do with an election, anything goes. ”

Despite bumps in her own road to the ballot box, Weiskirch wanted to do more with her decision than just cast a ballot. “I kinda figured that if I was going to go ahead and do something so dramatic for myself, I should at least come up with a few creative pieces to go along with. I kept staring at all of these platforms I have available to me and decided I would create a campaign that focused solely on the topic of registering.”

“With so many voices chanting ‘Vote’ I wanted to be a voice that rang out saying ‘Register Then Vote’ so I went about creating a 7 page blog post to one account, tossed up a few tweets and eventually pulled off a musical video of sorts to go along with the text.”

While the production quality of the video is low end, Weiskirch is unconcerned about her lack of video recording skills. Instead, she is proud of releasing an original song for the first time in 15 years and worried about how her own lyrics have taken on a more urgent tone in her own mind.

“One lone soul, lying in the street. Too late to know, it’s a bitter defeat,” Weiskirch quotes from the song. “Those aren’t words of a happy person. Those are words of a war-weary mother after 9/11 and during the Bush era who was terrified her children might be called to war for any reason, let alone the wrong one. But back then, it seemed truly important to find ways of remembering all of the good and after playing it out a few times, I put it on the shelf.”

“And while the battle of The Chicks vs. Bush was disturbing to enduring in the headlines, it is all about bands like Pussy Riot in Russian getting thrown in a jail with horrific conditions worse than anything reported here. It’s not about all Presidents having some sort of legitimized ‘final stamp of approval’ over music. It’s not in their power to demand it. But when the President of my country and other leaders across this nation started using the same words President Putin uses in Russia, I started paying extra attention.”

But Weiskirch insists this is not about national politics. “We all have always been but one justification away from being thrown in jail, run down by a car or even raped or shot. This is about the current breakthroughs of actions born from imagination into reality and the subsequent translation of emotions into physical attacks upon not just property, but people. I believe this election is all about the individual states and the decisions made in the 89,000 municipal units across this nation.”

“So if telling everyone I have suspended my protest via not voting helps motivate others to find their own reasons to register and vote, then great for them! I hope they search their own souls and cast their ballot for the person who speaks the most frequently on their behalf and I’ve got your back if you choose not to vote at all. It’s your vote and your voice to use.”

Weiskirch will once again be active in her local political scene, which still includes Midlothian, but will not be endorsing any candidates. “Despite my intent on writing critically about current elected officials, conversely it does not mean I am endorsing someone running against an incumbent through the writing. I am going to do my best to get as much fact out as I can, form a few personal opinions and that’s about it. The rest of my time is going to be spent working with local businesses and other members of the community to prepare for the wintertime trials we are facing here in the southwest suburbs. Things were kinda brutal and raw down here before Covid19, and with the Coronavirus pandemic, truths are just becoming more and more naked and exposed on top of every other pre-existing condition. I’m ready to rock ‘n roll, even if the stage has nothing but this keyboard and my computer screen. Count me in and count me registered to vote.”

#WhoWillTellYourStory

#WhenSomeoneComeForYours

#SpeakThroughYourVoting

#SoThatOurNationEndures

Follow on www.twitter.com/SuburbanXWife

View the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/0NwHP7A6ntM

 

Call To Action: Let the 2020 Clean Up Frenzy Begin! Share Your #MCUP #BeforeAndAfter Pics

Micro Clean Up Project (#MCUP) Examples 

September 19, 2020 Before Picture #1:  This walkway leads to a parking lot shared by commuters using the train and visitors to The Cal Sag Waterfall in Blue Island, Illinois.

Over the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to jump into a few community projects related to foliage cleanup and the results were stark and startling…but also thrilling and exciting as well.  It truly is amazing what kinds of changes can happen with a few hours, a few tools and a little bit of sweat!

September 19, 2020 Before Picture #2:  While this walkway has lighting, there was still a significant quantity of outgrowth impeding safe travel and line of sight.

It is these types of past and present successes that has inspired us at The Brainstorming Warehouse to call for a nationwide campaign to see how many Micro Clean Up Projects #MCUP can be accomplished before Halloween.  10,000?  100,000?  A million?  More?

This call to action goes out to homeowners and renters alike.  The key is to create goals that can be handled by one or a few people at most…no large groups necessary.  This strip of public property took a little over 11 hours to accomplish by myself.

September 20, 2020, After Picture #1:  This result took two days to accomplish but what an exciting difference!  Completely clear line of sight through simple branch trimming, weed pulling and sweeping.

This can help our youth build up their resumes during these challenging times, let alone your own!  Dare we point out the outdoor exercise value?  And what if we told you that you might actually have some fun?

Many projects can be done without help from your local municipality, including helping a neighbor with lawn mowing, tree trimming, leaf raking, etc.  Also, your local Town, Village or City Hall might have programs already in place you can plug into, like what I did with this particular project.


September 20, 2020, After Picture #2:  I was able to shuffle a significant amount of dirt that was covering the walkway to create a stronger barrier against the elements.

I would like to thank Blue Island Mayor Domingo Vargas and Blue Island Alderman Allan Stevo for the loan of tools to get this project done!

#CleanUpFrenzy #ItsYourTurn #WhatWillYouImproveToday

September 11, 2020 After Picture #1: This entire block was trimmed up by a small group of volunteers, including Blue Island Mayor Domingo Vargas. This tree was so overgrown, the branches were less than 4 feet away from the ground in some areas. Again, thanks to Mayor Vargas for the loan of tools to take care of this area

Local Thank You: August 2020 Together #BlueIslandStrong Event Contributors

Sometimes it can take a small army of volunteers to bring an event together of any kind or style.

Together #BlueIslandStrong would like to express their appreciation and gratitude to the members of the Blue Island Community who made it out in full force for the August 13, 2020 Face Mask, Gloves, Hand Sanitizer and Food event coordinated by Carol DiPace-Greene of Blue Island, Illinois through donations of items, time and effort throughout the month.

Following is a list of contributors Together #BlueIslandStrong would like to thank for helping with the August 13th event:

Mayor Domingo Vargas
City Clerk Randy Heuser
City Attorney Cary Horvath
Aldermen William Cazares (Ward 2)
Aldermen Johnny Hill (Ward 5)
Aldermen Dexter Johnson (Ward 1)
Aldermen Allan Stevo (Ward 7)
Officer Jeremy Rhodes (this link leads to BI Police non-emergency online portal)
Blue Island Public Library
Eisenhower High School
Captain Luis Acosta, Blue Island CrossGenerational Salvation Army
Lopez Tire (2407 York St, Blue Island, IL)
Marsha Lee & The Tommy Lee Memorial Fund
Patty’s Grooming
The Brainstorming Warehouse
Sonji Brooks
Patty Filewicz
Angelo Greene
Dexter Johnson Jr.
Patty Morrone

If you would like to learn more about the event, please contact Carol DiPace-Greene at cdipacegreene@icloud.com.

* While we try to keep things 100% error free here at The Brainstorming Warehouse, we do make mistakes once and a while.  If we misspelled your name in this post, please accept our apologies and give us a call at 224-707-0080 so we can immediately make the change. Also, we cannot and are not responsible for the content once you click a link on this list.  We have done our best to ensure the official website for a business, corporation, etc. is linked and active at the time of posting.

Click here to learn more about The Brainstorming Warehouse.

Introducing Brainstorming Warehouse Worker #19V

Please summarize your existence in 3 sentences:

Hello, world!  <note to author:  be sure to include adjectives here suggesting mass enthusiasm and energy while speaking the words, despite being exhausted.  Remember!  No one wants to hear about your problems, especially your audience…right…?  Note to author of note to author:  Wrong!  Now stay out of this! Note to author of note to author of the original note:  You two okay?  Note from both previous authors:  We’re fine!  Now tell them who you are already!>

My name is Valerie.  <note from author:  Valerie traditionally means “strong-willed, strong-minded.”  Are you getting an idea of where this is going?  note to author:  OMG!  They’ll understand who you are regardless of the definition of your name.  Can you get on with this already?>

I am an almost life-long Service Provider for members of local communities in need of creative analog and digital services, sometimes blended together.  <note to author: don’t forget to explain some of the things you’ve done in the past like the flooding footage, flyers, directories and stuff like that and that you help individuals as well as businesses!  Note to author of note to author: Also mention stuff like tennis and ping-pong in your youth, along with mowing lawns and snow shoveling.  Note from author:  In my younger days, I made some good bucks during the blizzard of 1979.  Little did I know back then just how damaging the blizzard was beyond my own backyard at the time!  This Internet stuff can be so…enlightening.>

Please explain your role inside the Warehouse:

Hmmm.  The very real and highly personal equation associated with the risks of the Covid19 virus added up to my deciding to leave a contract job as a data entry clerk (MISS YOU ALL!!) and instead refocusing my keyboarding talents towards my own backyard, with an eye on sustaining an extremely limited (and strategic!) purpose for travel.

I happen to be quite good at quite a few things I’ve been lucky to learn how to do well over the years and it does not mean I do not know how to focus, nor does any perceived lack of specialty reflect a weakness in my work product.

Instead, it all converts itself nicely into playing a direct and productive role in my local community and beyond on multiple levels, and The Warehouse is structured to provide this kind of “on-call” brainstorming service for a marketplace reeling from severely consequential decisions facing us one way or another.

Sometimes a situation calls for a more political solution (i.e. letters, FOIA requests, all for the political cartoon, etc.) while other issues just need someone able to make some phone calls and do a little research to make a long-lasting connection between a government agency providing services and the public.

Other times something will have nothing to do with government and everything to do with the members of the community, including business owners, landlords and other facets that create the elastic band around the economics of a pen-drawn area on a map.  For example, I can type 95 wpm and know how to perform simple and fairly complex bulk data tasks.  I know a little HTML as well as graphic design.  I can play a drum, a guitar, a keyboard and a bass (my FAVORITE!) and have made videos of events like flooding to aid in the process of curbing the issue.  I’ve launched shopping carts and fundraisers, some “successful,” some not so much.

All of this (and so much more) adds up to a great deal of opportunity to create a kind of imaginary overlay to our current logistical AND emotional needs so that we all can have the capacity to address a mix of both macro and micro decisions we all get to make regardless of a virus.

And then there are those times where the musician in me is in the mood to voice my own personal opinion about politics, social conditions, environmental issues, etc.  These moments are usually clearly identified when viewed here on this site, but the Warehouse is not accountable for those who take our content and use it out of context.  Nor does this particular voice of mine reflect the opinions of those who are associated with the Warehouse.

So I guess my role here at the Warehouse is to help coordinate our internal activities and projects, participate in meeting our publishing schedule and sometimes getting out into the community to work on a project that doesn’t need a large group of people working on at the same time, such as gardening and trash pick-up.

What is your favorite song?

Long answer:  It’s not logistically possible for me to calculate except in a very relative sense, so I don’t bother creating lists like this.  Short answer:  I don’t have a single song I favor over another for any significant period of time.  Side answer:  I do tend to enjoy bands like Little River Band, Sgt. Letty’s Loos, Air Supply, Styx, Journey, Chicago, etc.

What is your favorite movie?

Please reference question above, delete from “Side answer” to “etc.” and swap “song” for “movie” and that’s my answer to this.

What is your favorite book?

Sigh.  Oh how Patriot’s Act these questions seem to be.  Please reference the question above, except swap “movie” for “book.”  I hope there are no more of these…

What is your favorite food?

Okay.  I surrender.  My favorite food is almost anything I don’t have to cook?

If you could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Serious?  I have to tell the world my answer to such a personal question?  Damn this is invasive.  Sigh.  Hmmm…I’d change my practice habits, or lack thereof, when it comes to music.  It can be very difficult to me to grab an instrument for the sake of providing myself some measure of joy or even escape.

It’s not that I miss a stage (not that I’ve been on that many), but it’s a personal guilt thing.  I can be very disciplined when I believe I need to be so I keep telling myself I should be focused on anything but music, especially right now with this new job. Intellectually I know quite well this is a little wrong and broken in theory…but as I am not necessarily unhappy when I am not playing at all hours of the day or night, it just remains too easy for me to keep my hands on this computer keyboard and off the other kind of keyboards that can take MIDI sounds and I wish it wasn’t.

How did you choose your Brainstorming Warehouse ID?

So, before anyone goes thinking my affinity for the number 19 is associated with the current situation, it ain’t.  My life has never been an easy street to travel down and years ago I decided to stake a fairly new claim into my own data production and data produced about myself.  I’m not trying to be coded here, but it is rather complicated and there truly is no compact explanation other than my inventing the acronym Interactive Internet Entertainment Event (IIEE) and using it as a signature for a variety of productions I was publishing online back when the Internet was a much narrower and limited Wild, Wild West due to lack of technology, knowledge, etc.

As I was more in a direction of music and radio at the time, I decided to label all websites under my control with a signature that included “Station 19” and boy did some of my work attract some attention back then, especially surrounding some of my conversations regarding a push for a mandatory mental health screening from government!

Regardless, I thought I’d carry forward the “19” part for my job here and then just add my first initial, ergo the #19V.  It may not make a great hashtag, but it still fits me just fine!  Well…it was either that or #21V, but that’s a whole ‘nuther story.

What are you missing the most right now during the Covid crisis?

Jam nights at the local bars.  Concerts on the green in a suburb.  The ache can physically hurt for a moment.  But I’ve been starting to chat it up with some musicians on how we can keep a music scene going that allows for some measured level of audience participation.  In other words, I am sure missing the live music and the possibilities those events held for people like me who like to connect every once and a while with the public on a musical level just for the fun of it.

My Civil Duty PSA: Together #BlueIslandStrong Remains Consistent In the Local Community…What’s Available In Your Backyard?

The role of an emergency management planner is to know how to put complex logistics puzzles together under great deals of stress and time-sensitive pressure in order to save lives first, then property, etc.

From capturing the macro view all the way to creating and assigning the micro tasks, many of these experts understand that no single individual can become a solo, solve-all puzzle piece…which is especially true when examining a local landscape for no less than triage opportunities, let alone large-scale efforts to accomplish a series of goals.

Carol DiPace-Greene of Blue Island, Illinois is one of those individuals who has been far more than just a single puzzle piece to the Blue Island community over the years.  Whether she is busy auditing reports issued by local government institutions or on the phone with a government official or agency, DiPace-Greene’s crystal-clear legacy of volunteerism is over-shadowed only by her successful track record both in and out of the courtroom throughout her career on behalf of youths growing their way out of The System.

Since the first Together #BlueIslandStrong effort launched in May 2020, The Brainstorming Warehouse has been proud and excited to participate at the events, as well as tasks done behind the computer.  We are thrilled to have already created two distinct document templates for the project that take minimal keystrokes to modify, and you bet there are still other steps we are looking forward to undertaking.  As the cliche goes, stay tuned!

So if you’re in the Blue Island area on September 12, 2020 between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm and in need of food, masks, hand sanitizer and/or gloves, stop on by.  No questions asked, no contact, just drive through with your trunk open and we take care of the rest!  Download the flyer by clicking here.

If you would like to donate to the project, please download the “Ways To Participate” flyer by clicking here.

Thank you to all of the donors and volunteers!

#TogetherBlueIslandStrong #DuplicatableSolutions #ForOneAndAll

(Personal note:  Super extra thanks to the Blue Island (CrossGenerations) Salvation Army for supplying a volunteer DJ and the source for music to keep us all entertained!)


***While this is not a new idea, it certainly can be quickly duplicated and adapted to the circumstances of virtually any community by virtually anyone.  If you are thinking about starting a program like this in your community, give us a call at 224-707-0080 and let’s see how we can help you custom tailor a project to fit the needs of your community.***