Important announcements for League leaders

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League of Women Voters
The League Update
FEBRUARY 14, 2019

99 Years of Empowering Voters & Defending Democracy


Today marks 99 years since the League was founded. As we look forward to our 100th anniversary and the presidential election next year, I know that we are just getting started! 

In 2018 our organization reached more voters than ever before. In court rooms from Arizona to Wisconsin to the United States Supreme Court, we are fighting to protect the rights of voters and defend our democracy. In Congress right now the League strongly supports major sweeping legislation in H.R. 1, the For the People Act, that will expand voting rights and improve our elections. 

I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished and how tirelessly we continue our commitment to protecting voters and defending democracy. Read my blog post about our 99th birthday here

As our birthday falls during Black History Month, I want to consider what that means as we think about the history of our organization and our mission today.

The League was founded in 1920 out of a desire for women to exercise their own newly gained rights. But unfortunately, the founders of our organization were only white and lacked diversity of representation. As a result, the League has learned a very important lesson: power and leadership must be shared and built jointly, across racial lines, for any organization to truly meet its full potential.  

How does our organization elevate black voices in the democracy space? Are we building relationships to be allies with organizations like the NAACP and National Urban League? We have an opportunity utilize our own power—our networks, our brand, and our name—to make sure these groups have a prominent seat at the table. In our 99th year, let’s commit to identifying black leaders and using our own power to lift their voices and messages. 


Making Democracy Work Campaign

Promote your Candidate Debates and Forums on VOTE411! (NEW)

2019 elections are well underway and so are League-sponsored candidate debates and forums! Does your League have any candidate debates or forums coming up in 2019? Promoting your events on VOTE411 can help spread the word to voters in your communities. If you have any upcoming candidate debates or forums and would like us to post the information on VOTE411, please send the following information to Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org): event title, offices covered, date, time, location (venue name and address) and any other information voters might need.

REMINDER: HR1 February Recess Activities

Congress will be back in their districts February 18 to 22, which presents the perfect opportunity to discuss the need for HR1, the For the People Act. As part of the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition, the League is encouraging our members to attend town halls and events set up to promote HR1 around the country. A map of events is available. If you don’t see an event in your community, you can sign up to host an event of your own. Please use the League talking points when discussing this bill with your Representatives and Senators. We also have provided new social media content and graphics, as well as a new Letter to the Editor template to help Leagues campaign for HR1.

Webinar Follow Up: LWV Policy Briefing on HR1, the For the People Act

Thanks to the nearly 300 people who joined the LWVUS webinar briefing on HR1. Those who were unable to attend can access the resources, recording and slide deck on the League Management Site.

LWVUS Sets Legislative Priorities

The LWVUS Board approved the following legislative priorities for 2019.   

1. Campaign for Making Democracy Work® (MDW), with special emphasis on protecting voting rights.  

2. Watchdog: Respond strategically on issues with LWV positions when needed, but focus on the Campaign for Making Democracy Work®.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Set DEI Goals for 2019

Consider how you and your League can create and achieve DEI-related goals in the new year. Our DEI Checklist is a great resource for potential actions.

February is Black History Month

February is Black History Month. We encourage Leagues to connect with groups leading Black History Month related events in their area and inquire how the League can support their objectives and how the League might equitably partner with them. We hope you’ll use this month as a learning opportunity. Our DEI resources page offers articles and books to get you started. 

LWVNJ Partners with NAACP

LWVNJ and League of Women Voters of Atlantic County are partnering with NAACP - Atlantic City Branch, Stockton University and Fair Districts NJ to host a public forum on the legislative redistricting process in NJ. Read about NAACP's work in New Jersey.

Documentary: Delta Sigma Theta in the Suffrage Movement

In 2006, Derek Fordjour and Jamar White created the Black Sorority Project: The Exodus, a full-length documentary feature chronicling the lives of 22 Howard University Women who marched in the Women’s Suffrage March of 1913 and changed the course of history forever. These were the women of Delta Sigma Theta. Watch the documentary here.

African American Women Leaders in the Suffrage Movement

This incredible article profiles several integral African American figures in the U.S. Women's Suffrage Movement. As author Edith Mayo notes, "Black women did not accept their exclusion from white suffrage organizations or the racist tactics employed by white suffragists. In the twentieth century, more and more Black women joined the ranks of suffragists as the movement progressed." Learn about these incredible leaders.

We want to hear from you!

Is your League embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in a new way? We want to know about it. Share your story so we can promote it more widely by emailing the Communications Team at Communications@lwv.org.

News of the Week

Gerrymandering in Maryland will be a topic of upcoming SCOTUS arguments with Benisek v. Lamone, a companion case to LWV v. Rucho and Common Cause v. Rucho. This week, LWV Maryland president Ashley Oleson told the Washington Post that the effects of gerrymandering on citizens' voices extends beyond voting into everyday policies that affect their lives.

This month, LWV Kentucky released a report showing the massive disenfranchisement experienced by formerly convicted persons in the state. Kentucky is one of three states that imposes a lifetime ban on voting rights for those with felony convictions, meaning over 312,000 citizens do not have the right to vote.

LWV Michigan was in court last week, making sure state house districts will be redrawn to fairly represent voters. This case is a key step in putting power back where it belongs: in the hands of the people.


League Urges Protection of Johnson Amendment in 116th Congress

The League joined with coalition partners on a letter sent to the chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committees urging them to protect and maintain the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is the longstanding tax law provision that safeguards the integrity and independence of our nation’s charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations.


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

In December, the LWV UN Observer for Climate, Robin Tokmakian, and three Delegates (Rebecca Boyd of LWV Wilmette, IL, and Claudia Keith and Cathy Frischmann of LWV Corvallis, OR) attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland. Read their blog post.

ICYMI: Guide to LWVUS Services for Leagues

In case you missed it: check out our comprehensive guide to the services the national office provides for Leagues.

99 student memberships for 99 years of League!

To celebrate LWV’s 99th birthday, LWV of Southern Nevada set a goal to sign up 99 students for a free League membership! Great goal to celebrate our birthday!

Webinar Follow Up: Technology & Communications Webinar 2/12

Thank you to attendees of Tuesday’s inaugural Technology & Communications Webinar!  

Unfortunately, we encountered a problem that meant the live recording of the webinar was not saved. So our IT Director graciously re-recorded a walk-through of the presentation so that the information can still be available for you. Follow this link to register for the recorded webinar – once you fill out the form, the video will automatically start on the next page. We thank you for understanding, since this series is new and there will be some bugs to work out. 

An additional change: we previously announced that the next webinar will cover image use requirements; however, our resident expert on that subject is unavailable on March 12, so the topic of next month’s webinar will be Volunteer Management Tools. But don’t worry, image use will certainly be covered in a future webinar! 

LWV Local League Logos

LWVUS is in the process of creating all local League logos, and 26 states have been completed. You can find all available local League logos here.

We will be rolling out more local League logos in the coming weeks and expect to be finished with all local League logos by the end of February.

Leagues should NOT attempt to build your own logos. If there is something you must complete in an expedited manner before LWVUS can get you your customized League logo, please go ahead and use your current logo.

Thank you and don't hesitate to email the Communications Team at communications@lwv.org if you have specific questions.

Opportunity to Support 19th Amendment Memorial

For the anniversary of the League on February 14th, please consider a philanthropic donation from your League to a memorial dedicated to the passage of the 19th Amendment that is planning to open on August 26, 2020. The memorial is in Occoquan Regional Park in Virginia, part of the historic prison grounds where scores of suffragists were jailed, kept in inhumane conditions and tortured for picketing the Wilson White House. Currently, the plan for the central statue is Carrie Chapman Catt, highlighting her and the League’s important work in securing the passage of the 19th Amendment. With a $1,000 donation, your name or the name of your League will be included on the donor wall at the entrance. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of women’s suffrage and the League, LWVEF will be supporting the monument with a financial donation. Detailed information about the memorial including design renderings can be found here.


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League of Women Voters

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