Join the process of updating League positions
By MADHU SRIDHAR
At the 1927 convention, the second president of the LWV, Belle Sherwin, compared the League of Women Voters to “a university without walls…whose members enter to learn and remain to shape the curriculum.”
In the initial years of the League’s formation, as the LWV was grappling to define its mission, it struggled with some important parameters. Was it to educate newly enfranchised women on the political process and civic responsibility? Was it to educate women on the substantive issues that they would confront as they became politically active? Or was it a combination of the two? League leaders discovered that the civic involvement and knowledge of the issues go hand in hand.
Action is needed
Over the years the League has rightfully earned the reputation of being the most effective organization in capitalizing on women’s voting strength to effect social change. To bring about change, we need to take action on important public policy issues. In the League, we can take action on issues ONLY if we have studied the issue and developed a position on the issue through a consensus process by the membership.
The League's process for study has acquired a solid reputation for its in-depth and unbiased exploration of an issue submitted by its grassroots membership for informed discussion. During this exploration, members draw on balanced, pro/con materials, develop their own resources, turn to technical experts and public officials for information, and reach out to the community through public meetings, surveys, and media coverage. This is all part of the study and consensus process upon which League position is based.
League “program” consists of those governmental issues that League members choose for concerted study and action. It includes both adopted positions upon which action is taken as well as issues for study that will lead to a position and action.
Review and recommend
All local League members are encouraged to participate in this important planning process before the State League convention (scheduled for April, 2018) to 1) review the current positions of the state League in the areas of Government; Administration of Justice; Natural Resources; and Social Policy and Human Resources and 2) recommend, if needed, a new study on any existing position or on a new issue for which the League does not have a position thereby restricting us from taking action.
Many of our positions date back to the early years of the League. To keep them fresh and up-to-date, we engage in this Program Planning process. League members review the program positions to decide if they should be kept, dropped (if the purpose is achieved or no longer relevant), amend, update, or restudy. Based on the recommendations from all the local Leagues, decisions are made at the state convention.
Focusing our impact
Program planning allows the League to focus and prioritize our work and insure that League resources, human and financial, from our grassroots volunteers to our professional staff, are engaged where they have the most impact.
Please join us on December 10 for a Holiday Brunch that will be followed by Program Planning. It is a great opportunity to meet long- time League members along with new faces. Plenty of time to mingle, have fun and get involved in the Program Planning process that keeps our esteemed organization uniquely grassroots: bottom-up versus top-down organization.
Wishing you a very happy Holiday season!!!