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League of Women Voters

The League Update

 

May 7, 2015

Dear Friend,

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and like many other mothers, I will be spending time this weekend with my sons. My two sons are Millennials and like others of their generation share a distrust of institutions, public or private, but at the same time, they have a deep sense of community and commitment to making engagement with that community. Unlike other generations, there are no geographic boundaries to what my sons and their peers consider their community. They define their community as their network of family, friends and colleagues, regardless of where these connections are located and they engage on issues that matter to them. The ability to engage across time and distance is the product of the digital fluency of their generation. It is a fluency that more and more people of every age and background are developing.

Digital fluency, alone, however, does not translate into civic engagement. Mothers play a vital role in encouraging their children’s interest in the world around them. My children were born and raised with the League of Women Voters. During the Clinton impeachment of the late 1990’s, one of my grade-school aged sons was disappointed when, as local League president, I had to preside over a Board meeting rather than take him out to dinner. He demanded to know why I couldn’t just skip the meeting! When I told him that I couldn’t because I had called the meeting, he asked loudly, “Can’t they just impeach you?” My many League experiences helped bring civic engagement directly into our home.

Thanks in part to his mother and the League, my son continues to be engaged in his community. While he gets his news through social media, he keeps up with events and he takes action on the issues that matter to him, especially through community groups he trusts which offer him an easy means to send digital messages to elected officials. My son is not unique. He is part of a generation eager to get involved. While the methods he uses to engage may be different than the ones I’m familiar with, they’re still important and impactful. I am proud that he is following the example I set for him.

We celebrate the influence and importance of mothers this weekend, but as mothers we know that our influence on our children is the greatest when we meet our children where they are. Perhaps because of our legacy as an organization for women to learn and use their voting rights, the League has done best when it, too, meets people where they are. When women like my college-educated mother were expected to stay home with children in the middle of the last century, the League adapted and grew strong by offering women an outlet for civic engagement. When, as a mother, I chose to remain in the workforce, the League offered me the chance to make my voice heard; and now for my children, the League is ready, offering more and new opportunities for civic engagement.

The world has changed in many ways, but the desire of each generation to engage with a community and have a voice that matters, does not. Be sure to keep an eye on the LWVUS Voices of the League blog over the next few days as we feature several inspirational guest articles by League leaders honoring Mother’s Day.

In League,

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League Leaders

To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. Please note that this is an internal communication that provides both announcements and opportunities meant only for your members and League, as well as updates on important news and events. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.

IN THIS ISSUE:

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

  • LWVUS Needs to Know - Who is your Roster Manager? (NEW)
  • Meet the Advisors: Engaging Diverse Activists for Strong Impact and a Strong League (NEW)

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

  • Money in Politics Review Committee Recommended Reading (REMINDER)
  • Constitutional Amendment Study Committee Offers Additional Background Reading (REMINDER)

ADVOCACY

  • League Urges Congress to Protect Farm Bill Conservation Program (NEW)
  • Tell Congress to Protect People Not Polluters (REMINDER)
  • Action Alert: Urge the President to Fully Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (REMINDER)

COMMUNICATIONS

  • WATCH: New Video on Improving Our Elections Systems (NEW)

OTHER

  • Seeking Applicants to Serve as Alternate U.N. Observers (REMINDER)
  • Take it easy...but take it* Language on the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)

MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP

LWVUS Needs to Know - Who is your Roster Manager? (NEW)
Who in your League updates your online database? This member (or multiple members!) is often designated as a Membership Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Management Team Member or even President. With the new Online Database system, individuals with these responsibilities will be also need to be designated as Roster Managers. The new system will allow Roster Managers to access the database using their email address and personal password, so no more hunting down the right credentials! Click on the survey and enter the information for your League’s Roster Manager(s).

Meet the Advisors: Engaging Diverse Activists for Strong Impact and a Strong League (NEW)
Over the last few years, LWVUS has actively partnered with state and local Leagues to reach out to underrepresented populations through our voter registration and voter protection programs, as well as through the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program, which encourages Leagues to strengthen relationships with allied organizations that have strong roots throughout underrepresented communities. Building on this work and following discussions at the LWVUS Convention 2014 in Dallas, the national Board established a subcommittee, who have asked a group of League leaders, along with the already appointed Young People's Board Advisors, to help develop a range of ideas and tools to assist Leagues in engaging people, especially those underrepresented in our democracy.

EDUCATION FUND - KEY STRUCTURES OF DEMOCRACY

Money in Politics Review Committee Recommended Reading (REMINDER)
The MIP Review Committee has added two books to the Suggested Reading ListCorruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United by Zephyr Teachout and Buying the Vote by Robert Mutch. Leagues are encouraged to use these and other suggested readings to get a head start on the MIP Review.

Constitutional Amendment Study Committee Offers Additional Background Reading (REMINDER)
The question of how an Article V Constitutional Convention would actually be conducted, and what limits, if any, there would be on its ability to offer amendments to the Constitution is a hotly debated topic. The Constitutional Amendment Study Committee has put together a list of opinion pieces on both sides of the issue of whether a U.S. Constitutional Convention can be limited to one topic. Leagues can use these opinion pieces as background reading.

ADVOCACY

League Urges Congress to Protect Farm Bill Conservation Program (NEW)
The League joined with other concerned organizations in a letter to the U.S. House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees urging them to protect mandatory funding for the farm bill conservation program. Without the mandatory funding farmers and ranchers will not be able to implement common sense conservation practices.

Tell Congress to Protect People Not Polluters (REMINDER)
April 22, marked the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day. The Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama, has worked to establish regulations that will reduce greenhouse gasses that cause climate change - like carbon dioxide, mercury and methane, and protect U.S. waters from pollution. But our natural resources continue to come under attack. Tell Congress to stand up for the planet and support the work of the EPA to fight climate change, protect public health and grow our economy!

Action Alert: Urge the President to Fully Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline (REMINDER)
President Obama fulfilled his promise to veto legislation approving the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline! The League is proud to stand behind the President’s veto because the pipeline is not in our national interest. But the fight is not over - President Obama and the U.S. State Department must still make a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. Thank President Obama for vetoing the pipeline legislation and urge him to reject final approval of the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all!

COMMUNICATIONS

WATCH: New Video on Improving Our Elections Systems (NEW)
Earlier this week, we released a new video on the 5 ways to improve our elections systems. Leagues throughout the country are already working hard to make these reforms a reality! Please share this short, easy-to-understand video with your networks.

OTHER

Seeking Applicants to Serve as Alternate U.N. Observers (REMINDER)
LWVUS is looking for qualified individuals to serve as alternate Observers to the UN. Applicants should have an interest in international relations, be a resident of the New York City area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) and be able to attend meetings on the UN campus usually one day a week during the September-June timeframe. Responsibilities typically include observing the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN General Assembly deliberations as well as attending conferences during the course of the year. Alternate Observers will help keep the League network updated on our work through posting of blogs, tweeting and other mechanisms. If interested, please send a resume, cover letter and two recommendations to unobserver@lwv.org.

Take it easy...but take it* Language on the League Clearinghouse (REMINDER)
Take it easy--take the accompanying text and publish it in your next local newsletter to make sure your League members are aware of the Clearinghouse--the great resource that features League studies in more than 50 subject areas. The Clearinghouse provides scope and focus of a topic, research methodology, sources consulted, information about positions, and consensus questions. Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without studies, even as multi-position documents, if they are accompanied by a single submission form. The description section could have "Resulting Position:" and the position statement or a link to the position. Complete studies are preferred, and Leagues may add study documents at a later date. Share your studies! Share our strength! *Woody Guthrie

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