Sudie Watkins – parting remarks July 2022

From Sudie Watkins, our outgoing (July 1) President of LWV-WA

I want to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts. I do feel a bit like a FLAT
STANLEY president, since I have seen most of you only on a flat screen during
these past 2 years.

However, the League has been anything but flat. Of course, that is due to the
outstanding contributions made by our members. I especially want to thank the
outgoing board members:
• Mary Ann Moxon who kept us all informed through her many communications and past league knowledge.
• Jim Clark for his help in organizing the logistics for Great Decisions.
• Jan Keady who has been one of the people behind keeping our membership so vital. Thanks to her hard work, and that of Nancy Moye who is remaining on the board, we continue to have the 2nd largest League in Virginia with approximately 315 members. We are second only to Fairfax County which obviously is a much more populated region.
• Rubyjean Gould has been part of Voter Services (with Maryann Simpson) and has been especially involved with organizing candidate forums for our community.
• Janet Ross has served as our secretary, a job made more challenging while trying to follow meetings on Zoom.
• Sue Edwards has contributed to the board in a number of ways because her official duties with hospitality were severely limited due to COVID.
• Hoda Zaki has been very active on the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee and has helped with the update of the history of the Virginia League.
• Although Linda Rice is not leaving the board entirely, she is leaving the position of advocacy and activism chair where she has so faithfully followed legislation and news about various program positions. Linda is also a past-President of our League and has been on the Virginia State board.

Even though many of these people are going off the board, most will still be very active participants in other ways.

Thank you to all of you for your contributions to our League. It has truly been a team effort.

I also want to acknowledge that many of our members have made additional financial donations, which have helped further our goals in the community. Many thanks to all of you who have made these contributions. We acknowledge these periodically in the eVOTER.

I also want to welcome the new board and thank you for accepting the challenges and opportunities ahead of you. I hope you enjoy your experience as much as I have.

At the end of June, I attended the National convention for the League of Women Voters held in Denver, Colorado. Brenda Beebe Duncan will discuss the convention in her article. Suffice it to say, it is always inspiring to meet so many committed women (and men as well) who work on behalf of the League at the local and national level.

Thinking even more to the future, our Williamsburg League will host the State League of Women Voters next June in 2023. We hope many of you will participate and help host. It’s always an interesting and enjoyable time, as well as a good way to learn more about the League.

We have worked hard to meet the challenges during the past 2 years. We have focused on several areas: Partnerships, Programs, and Participation.

We have continued a long-standing partnership with our public Library. This year our annual Great Decisions foreign affairs lecture series became a hybrid version.

We have done a number of joint civics programs, including the One Book One Community program which is also done with the College of William & Mary.

We have strengthened our partnership with William & Mary, especially through our DEI committee, participation in William & Mary’s winter break program, and joint voter registration activities with fraternities and sororities.

We have partnered with the NAACP in voter registration and Juneteenth activities.

Another area of our focus has been our programs. We have provided presentations to a number of community groups on suffrage, voting rights, civics and more. Some of our speakers have included the police chief, our registrar, our legislators, including joint Zoom meetings with both Democratic and Republican legislators on the same meeting.

Our last focus has been on increasing participation of our members. We continue to do much of our work virtually, but neighborhood get togethers have provided small groups with an opportunity to socialize. We have offered book club meetings. We hope we will be together more in the future as we empower voters and defend democracy together.

I want to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity and honor of serving as President.

It has been a wonderful experience to be part of this incredible and historic organization. I have learned so much and met many amazing people. I look forward to being a part of the League in the future and wish the new board and all of you a fabulous and productive future.

Sudie Watkins